(Photo Credit: Reuters)
On 13 November, incoming Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Bahrain’s crown prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa to visit the occupied Palestinian territories, in a bid to further Tel Aviv’s relations with Gulf nations.
During a phone conversation, Netanyahu told the crown prince that Israel and Bahrain face “great opportunities” and that he expects a direct line of communication between Tel Aviv and Manama.
Netanyahu’s office reported that Bahrain’s prince expressed a desire to expand bilateral relations, according to The Times of Israel.
A day prior, Netanyahu signed the documents needed to ratify the formation of a new government, and had six weeks to conclude negotiations on the subject matter.
On 6 November, the diplomatic advisor to Bahrain’s King Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa said that Bahrain would continue to expand its relationship with Israel, after Netanyahu and his right-winged allies claimed the majority in the Knesset elections.
During Netanyahu’s term in 2020, Israel normalized ties with the UAE and Bahrain, due to fears of Iran’s growing regional influence. The negotiations were mediated and encouraged by the Trump administration in what became known as the Abraham Accords.
Israel announced on 10 November that its Chief of Staff of the Israeli Air Force, Eyal Greenbaum, participated in the Air Force Commanders Conference in Bahrain, which was the first of its kind, according to Sputnik.
Lieutenant Colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Avichay Adraee indicated that this visit came within the framework of continuing to strengthen relations and cooperation between the Israeli army and the armies of the region, especially the U.S. Central Command.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published on 9 October, Israeli defense contractors have secured over $3 billion in deals with the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco.
Israel and Bahrain are also seeking to reach a free trade agreement by the end of the year.
While economic cooperation with the UAE has taken off since the signing of the Abraham Accords, Israel’s trade with Bahrain lags far behind, with total trade estimated at around $7.5 million.