Jerusalem's Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar made history Monday when he met with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on a visit to the Bahraini capital Manama.
Israel's public broadcaster Kan called the visit “the first of its kind,” noting that Ammar “conveyed to the king greetings from Jerusalem.”
Municipal rabbis are considered official representatives of the State of Israel but not of its government.
Amar, who was previously the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, was in the Gulf state to participate in a religious forum along with clerics from Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and other Arab and Islamic countries, Kan said.
Amar expressed the hope that citizens of both Israel and Bahrain could visit one another’s countries without need for special coordination.
Kan said the visit was organized by Israeli and American officials, as Bahrain does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.
Bahrain is one of the Gulf states that appears to be changing its attitude towards the Jewish state, triggered in part by a shared perceived threat from Iran.
Its foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, shook hands with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
Ibn Ahmed has also repeatedly defended strikes launched by Israel on Iranian targets in Syria, branding them as “self-defense,” and criticized the operations carried out by the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah as well as the militant Palestinian factions in Gaza.
In a previous interview with Kan, the Bahraini foreign minister said that he considers Israel to be “an integral part of the Middle East.”