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Netanyahu speaks to Bahrain crown prince of ‘great opportunities’ for cooperation

Presumptive incoming prime minister agrees to continue close cooperation, invites Bahraini counterpart to visit Israel, his office says

Likud party chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu, left, receives the mandate to form a new government, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, November 13, 2022; Bahrain's Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa pays his respects at the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London, September 18, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/ Flash90; Sarah Meyssonnier/ Pool via AP)
Likud party chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu, left, receives the mandate to form a new government, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, November 13, 2022; Bahrain's Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa pays his respects at the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London, September 18, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/ Flash90; Sarah Meyssonnier/ Pool via AP)

Israel’s presumptive incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa over the phone on Sunday, Netanyahu’s office said.

“The crown prince expressed Bahrain’s desire to broaden and deepen the relations between our countries and bring our collaboration to new heights,” a statement issued by Netanyahu’s office read.

According to the statement, Netanyahu told his Bahraini counterpart that the countries face “great opportunities” and that he expects the direct line of communication between them to continue.

Netanyahu invited Al Khalifa to visit Israel soon, his office said.

Netanyahu has held numerous conversations with world leaders since he emerged victorious following the November 1 national election.

Israel and Bahrain normalized ties in 2020, under Netanyahu’s previous government, as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which also established diplomatic relations between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates. The accord paved the way for normalization with Morocco months later.

Then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, then-US president Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan react on the Blue Room Balcony after signing the Abraham Accords during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, September 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon/File)

Following Israel’s general elections earlier this month, Bahrain said it would continue to advance growing ties with Israel, as the Jewish state looks set to usher in its most right-wing government ever, including extreme-right elements.

The Reuters news agency cited a diplomatic adviser to Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the time as saying that Netanyahu’s win was “normal and always expected.”

“We have an agreement with Israel, part of the Abraham Accords, and we will stick to our agreement and we expect it to continue in the same line and continue building our partnership together,” said Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

“We will want to make an example and succeed together and face all the threats,” he added.

Bahrain and Israel have been working to strengthen bilateral ties.

Last month, a delegation of Israeli paratroopers held a joint jump over Bahrain, alongside soldiers from the Gulf nation, the UAE, and the United States to mark two years since the signing of the Abraham Accords.

Paratroopers from Israel, Bahrain, the UAE and the US are seen in Bahrain on October 26, 2022. (Screenshot: Twitter – Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

In February, Israel signed a tech and science cooperation deal with Bahrain, though details were scarce, followed by an agreement to cooperate on health and medical innovations, and medical research. In August, Israeli and Bahraini organizations inked an agreement for cooperation on fintech.

The two countries are believed to have maintained covert ties on security and defense over the years. They are reported to be in advanced talks for a free trade agreement.

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