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Israel appoints first ambassador to Bahrain

Ambassador Eitan Na'eh had served at the Israeli embassy in UAE: Reuters

MANAMA: Israel has named its first ambassador to Bahrain after normalising relations with the Gulf Arab state a year ago.

Ambassador Eitan Na’eh had for eight months served as temporary head of mission at the Israeli embassy in the United Arab Emirates, the first Gulf state with which Israel established diplomatic relations in August last year.

In September 2020, the UAE and Bahrain both inked US-brokered deals to establish ties with Israel, a move later followed by Sudan and Morocco.

Bahrain’s first ambassador to Israel, Khaled Yousif Al Jalahma, arrived in the country this week. Before touching down in Israel, the new ambassador put out a tweet in Hebrew, Arabic and English, saying, “The opportunity to fulfill His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s vision of peaceful coexistence with all nations is a privilege that I will hold in high regard.”

Israel and Bahrain agreed in 2020 to establish diplomatic relations as part of the Abraham Accords, a United States-led initiative that has also seen the Jewish state normalise ties with the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry also hailed the arrival in Israel of al-Jalahmah, saying that it “and the upcoming official opening of the Bahraini Embassy in Israel, mark an important step in developing the bilateral relations between the two countries and their peoples.”

Israel signed off on al-Jalahma’s appointment in March. He previously served as deputy ambassador to the US, among other senior posts in the Bahraini diplomatic service.

His arrival in Israel came weeks after Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Relations Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmad al-Khalifa openly met an Israeli military commander in charge of Iranian matters while visiting Israel.

In the past, such meetings between senior Israeli and Arab officials had been largely kept away from public eyes. Its public nature was a further indication of the warming of ties between Israel and Bahrain, and their alignment against Tehran.