Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa met President Isaac Herzog on Sunday in the first visit by an Israeli head of state to the Gulf state since the countries forged ties two years ago.
Herzog will then visit the United Arab Emirates, which also normalized ties with Israel in U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords and had already hosted the Israeli president.
"I have come here with a distinguished delegation of people who lead the business sector in Israel, who are eager to connect and do business with the people of Bahrain," Herzog said according to a statement provided by his office.
King Hamad also voiced hope the visit would strengthen bilateral relations, state news agency BNA reported, while stressing Manama's support for "a just, comprehensive and sustainable peace that guarantees legitimate rights of the Palestinian people."
Additionally, Herzog met with representatives from Bahrain's Jewish community on Sunday.
Among the representatives was Ebrahim Nonoo, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the local synagogue, recognized by authorities as the representative of the Jewish community. Israel's ambassador to Bahrain was also present, along with Bahrain's representative to the World Jewish Congress, among others.
"I am very moved to be here," Herzog said. "This is really history in the making, coming and visiting the Jewish community in Bahrain when we have such incredible peace and wonderful relations with His Majesty the King."
"We all spent time together at lunch, and you can see the great affection and respect between the leadership and our nations... One thing that transpired in our discussion was the immense respect of the King and his family for the Jewish community of Bahrain."
Bahrain's Jewish community is comprised mostly through immigration to the Gulf country in the early 1880s, mainly from Iraq, Iran and Kuwait. Most of the community is elderly, as most young people leave.
At the start of the meeting, the Jewish community presented Herzog with three gifts of historical value: a Farhi prayerbook with an Arabic translation, a book detailing the history of the Bahraini Jewish community and a copy of the permit to establish the local synagogue in 1931.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.