Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, arrived in Bahrain on Thursday for a landmark visit. Nearly one year after the two countries established formal ties as part of the Abraham Accords, Lapid is the highest ranking official (as of yet) to visit the Gulf state.
The visit’s highlight was the inauguration of Israel’s embassy in Manama. “The inauguration of the embassy symbolizes our political cooperation. We have agreed that by the end of the year Bahrain will open its embassy in Israel,” said Lapid. At a joint press conference with his Bahraini counterpart, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Lapid made the following statement:”
"A-salamu alaykum, shalom aleichem. This phrase has a double meaning both in Hebrew and Arabic – a greeting when people meet, and a blessing for a lifetime of peace and cooperation.
“The global struggle today is not between right and left, nor between Judaism and Islam or Christianity. The global struggle is between moderate and extreme. Between a culture of life, versus a culture of destruction and death. Today, together with all our friends in the Gulf, we are leading a brave coalition of moderates who are looking ahead to create a prosperous future of stability and tolerance. We live in a global reality in which those who are reclusive will disappear. Those who cooperate will lead both the world and the Middle East.
“Bahrain, like Israel, encompasses an ancient history along with the extraordinary capabilities of the new technological world. Our opportunities are shared, our threats are shared, and they are not far from here.
“In his speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the late Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin said: ‘Peace is the beauty of life. Is the sunrise. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the promotion of man, the victory of the just goal and the victory of the truth. Peace is all that, and much more.’ Today we bring each other the ‘much more than that,’ the official opening of the embassies, which will mark the political cooperation between us.”
Lapid concluded by thanking His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, “for the privilege of being here today. Together, we take another step forward in our relationship.”
The Israeli FM also met with His Majesty the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, and thanked him for a warm meeting full of hope. “The King's leadership and inspiration led to genuine cooperation, and this meeting paves the way for the continuation of the relationship,” said Lapid. Another meeting was with the Crown Prince and the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, whom he thanked "for the privilege of being here today and taking another step together in building our relationship, in a model of partnership and coexistence between cultures and religions."
Against the backdrop of the UN General Assembly last week, Israel’s Prime MInister Naftali Bennett met with Bahraini Foreign Al Zayani and UAE Minister of State in the Foreign Ministry, Khalifa Shaheen Almarar. Bennett said that Israel aspires to tighten and strengthen relations with the UAE and Bahrain in all fields and added that he hopes that additional countries in the region will join the circle of peace.