Bennett leaves for first-ever visit to Bahrain

In first public visit by an Israeli prime minister to Gulf kingdom, Bennett slated to meet with cabinet members to discuss 'the importance of peace' in the region, and 'advancement of diplomatic and economic issues'

Associated Press, Itamar Eichner|
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett jetted off to the Gulf state of Bahrain on Monday, cementing ties between the new allies in a clear message of cooperation aimed at regional archrival Iran.
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  • Bennett's trip to the Gulf is the first public visit by an Israeli prime minister to Bahrain and comes less than two weeks after the allies signed a historic defense agreement, and while nuclear talks between world powers and Iran are dragging on in Vienna.
    2 View gallery
    Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: AP)
    Bennett's office said he would meet with the kingdom's Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa to discuss "the importance of peace, advancement and prosperity in the region, and especially the advancement of diplomatic and economic affairs, with an emphasis on technology and innovation."
    Bennett will also meet with sundry other of the Gulf kingdom's ministers, as well as with representatives of the local Jewish community.
    2 View gallery
    החתימה על ההסכם הביטחוני עם שר ההגנה הבחרייני
    החתימה על ההסכם הביטחוני עם שר ההגנה הבחרייני
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz signs a defense cooperation deal with his Bahraini counterpart Abdulla bin Hasan Al Nuaimi, in Manama, February 3, 2022
    (Photo: Defense Ministry)
    Bennett's trip to Bahrain comes against the backdrop of rising tensions across the region, with Israel and the U.S. accusing Iran of attacking commercial shipping in the Gulf, which prompted Jerusalem in response to shore up its naval presence in the Red Sea — a critical artery for world trade and Israeli strategic interests.
    Bahrain, meanwhile, announced that an Israeli military liaison officer will be posted in the country as part of a joint defense agreement signed between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Bahraini counterpart Abdulla bin Hasan Al Nuaimi during his historic visit to the Gulf kingdom earlier this month.
    Israel, along with its new Gulf allies, is watching closely as diplomats from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China and Russia are currently negotiating with Iran on a possible return to the tattered 2015 nuclear accords.
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