Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as he board a flight to Scotland for the UN climate summit in October

Bennett travels to UAE for first official visit by Israeli premier

Responding to an invitation extended by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, PM says strong Israel-UAE ties contribute to regional security and stability

Moran Azulay, Agencies |
Updated: 12.12.21, 13:54
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will travel later on Sunday, to the UAE for the first official visit of an Israeli premier in the Gulf nation, and at the invitation of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
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  • Israeli UAE relations were established in the Abraham Accords signed last year at the White House.
    3 View gallery
    נפתלי בנט ראש הממשלה לפני ההמראה לועידת האקלים בגלזגו, סקוטלנד
    נפתלי בנט ראש הממשלה לפני ההמראה לועידת האקלים בגלזגו, סקוטלנד
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as he board a flight to Scotland for the UN climate summit in October
    (Photo: GPO)
    The trip comes amid heightened regional tension as world powers' try to renew a nuclear deal with Iran. Israel has broached setting up joint defenses with Gulf Arab states that share its concern over Iranian activities.
    Yet UAE has recently mounted outreach to neighboring Iran, sending a top official there last Monday.
    "I will be going out today to the United Arab Emirates, in the first visit ever by an Israeli prime minister," Bennett told his cabinet on Sunday.
    The invitation was extended to the prime minister in October in a letter delivered by the UAE ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja.
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    נפתלי בנט בפגישה עם שגריר איחוד האמירויות בישראל מוחמד אל חאג'ה
    נפתלי בנט בפגישה עם שגריר איחוד האמירויות בישראל מוחמד אל חאג'ה
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with UAE ambassador Mohamed Al Kaja
    (Photo: GPO)
    The PMO said Bennett thanked the crown prince, and spoke with the ambassador about bolstering bilateral ties, increasing regional cooperation and strengthening the Abraham Accords.
    "The stronger the ties between Israel and the UAE will be, the better for regional security and stability," Bennett said.
    The prime minister's visit follows the visit of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid last June, when he inaugurated Israel's embassy in the kingdom and signed an economic cooperation agreement.
    3 View gallery
    יקביעת מזוזה בשגרירות ישראל באבו דאבי
    יקביעת מזוזה בשגרירות ישראל באבו דאבי
    Foreign MInister Yair Lapid inaugurates the new Israeli embassy in the UAE in June
    (Photo: GPO)
    During his visit, Lapid praised the actions of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his role in promoting the Abraham Accords.
    "This is Netanyahu's moment as much as it ours, Lapid said."
    Netanyahu was scheduled to visit the UAE before being voted out of office but on several such occasions was forced to cancel the trip.
    He prevented other ministers in his government from conducting official visits to the Gulf nation, including a visit by then foreign Minister Gaby Ashkenazi who wanted to inaugurate Israel's diplomatic mission at an earlier date.



    First published: 12:06, 12.12.21
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