In historic first, Israeli foreign minister meets with Bahraini royals

“Thank you to the King…[for] a historic, warm, and hopeful meeting,” wrote Yair Lapid.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Just over a year after the historic Abraham Accords normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the Jewish State’s Foreign Minister touched down in Manama to meet with the Bahraini royal family in the Gulf kingdom.

The meeting between Yair Lapid and Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa, marked the first time that an Israeli official has met with the nation’s ruling family.

While the meeting between Lapid and al Khalifa was held behind closed doors, the Israeli minister said the two men had a productive discussion focused on strengthening ties between their countries.

“Thank you to the King of Bahrain, His Majesty King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa, on a historic, warm, and hopeful meeting,” Lapid wrote on Twitter.

“His Majesty’s leadership and inspiration have led to true cooperation and our meeting outlined the path forward for our relationship.”

Acknowledging that he also met with Bahrain’s crown prince, Al Khalifa’s son, Lapid thanked the royals “for the privilege of being here today and of together, taking another step in building our relationship in the model of partnership and coexistence between cultures and religions.”

Read  Saudi Arabia halts talks on peace deal with Israel - report

Before meeting with the royals, Lapid sat down with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani, who famously signed the trilateral normalization agreement during a ceremony at the White House hosted by former president Donald Trump.

According to Al-Jazeera, some Bahrainis protested against Lapid’s visit, arguing that it represented a betrayal of the Palestinian struggle.

“The visit of the Israeli FM to Bahrain is an act firmly rejected, condemned and denounced by the people of Bahrain,” Sheikh Hussein al-Daih, deputy secretary-general of the kingdom’s Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, told AFP.

Historically, Bahrain has been the Gulf country most welcoming to Jews. Up until the Abraham Accords, it was the only nation in the region to have a public, active synagogue.

Two prominent Jewish families of Iraqi origin have played a major role in Bahraini politics, with some members serving in the Parliament and others as Bahrain’s ambassadors to foreign countries.