On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett landed in Bahrain for the first time as the first Israeli head of government to visit the Gulf state.
Bennett is scheduled to meet with Bahrain’s monarch, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and his son, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Kingdom’s prime minister and Crown Prince, on Tuesday.
Bennett’s unexpected visit to the energy-rich island Kingdom, which also houses the US fifth fleet, is the latest in a flurry of diplomatic engagement between Israel and Gulf governments amid rising regional tensions.
“In these tumultuous times, it’s important that from this region we send a message of goodwill, of cooperation of standing together against common challenges,” Bennett said before departing Israel.
His visit follows Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s visit to Bahrain earlier this month, during which the two nations signed a defense deal.
Gantz boasted that the agreement encompassed intelligence, procurement, and collaborative training, and that it reinforced the budding diplomatic ties.
The prime minister said he will have “a series of meetings whose goal is to fill – with energy and content – the peace agreement between the two nations.” He will also meet with other top officials and members of Bahrain’s historic Jewish community.