First Israeli Ambassador Takes Office in Manama

First Israeli Ambassador Takes Office in Manama

After the signing of the Abraham Accords, the normalisation agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, in September 2020, the three states formalised the fresh start of their diplomatic relations with the opening of embassies in their respective countries in 2021. While the Bahraini ambassador to Israel took office in September of this year, the appointment of the Israeli ambassador to Bahrain and the approval of his nomination by the cabinet took a bit longer.

Eitan Na’eh, appointed as Israel’s first ambassador to Bahrain, arrived in the capital of the Kingdom on Monday (December 6th). Na’eh had initially been appointed as Envoy to the United Arab Emirates before being chosen as the head of the diplomatic mission in the neighbouring Gulf state. Na’eh is a veteran diplomat with extensive experience in the region. Between 2016 and 2018, he served as Israel’s ambassador to Turkey before being recalled as tensions mounted between the two countries. 

The Israeli diplomatic mission in Manama was officially inaugurated by Israeli Foreign Minister Yaer Lapid in September 2021. During this historic visit to Bahrain, Lapid was also the first Israeli political figure to meet with the country's ruler, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, in the context of an official visit to the royal palace. During the meeting, the Israeli minister also spoke with the Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. 

Prime Minister Al Khalifa also met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on the sidelines of the COP 26 earlier in November. The meeting between the two officials resulted in declarations of friendship which reiterated the excellent nature of the nascent diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Just a week after the meeting, Bahrain carried out its first military exercise alongside Israel, the United States, and the UAE in the Red Sea.