Israel and its partners in the Gulf are moderates partnering against extremism, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said at a press event with his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, in Manama on Thursday.
Regarding security cooperation between the countries and referring to Iran, he said: “Our threats are... shared, and they aren’t far from here. The global battle today is between moderates and extremists. A culture of life against a culture of death and destruction. Together with our friends in the Gulf, we are leading a brave coalition of moderates.”
Lapid met with Bahraini King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, in addition to Al Zayani, on his one-day trip, the first by an Israeli minister since the countries normalized relations by signing the Abraham Accords last September. He also dedicated Israel’s new embassy to Bahrain.
Lapid and Al Zayani visited the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet ship USS Pearl Harbor docked in Bahrain, along with US Chargé d’Affaires Maggie Nardi.
Israelis and Bahrainis are tough and adaptable people who “made life flourish in the heart of the desert,” Lapid said. “Today, it is our responsibility to build for our children a future of prosperity and progress.”
Bahrain’s century-old Jewish community, the oldest in the Gulf, is “a symbol of coexistence, tolerance and harmony, proof that Bahrain’s values are in deeds and not only words,” Lapid said.
He thanked the king, saying, “The leadership and inspiration of the king led to real cooperation, and this meeting outlined the way to continue the relations.”
In their one-on-one meeting, Lapid and Al Zayani discussed “cooperation between the countries and ways to make the official peace between the countries into an active friendship,” the Foreign Ministry said.
They also spoke about economic, security, diplomatic and civil matters, according to the readout.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Al Zayani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Sunday, along with UAE Minister of State in the Foreign Ministry Khalifa Shaheen Almarar.
Bahraini Ambassador to Israel Khaled Yousif al-Jalahama arrived last month. Eitan Na’eh will become Israel’s ambassador to Bahrain but he has not taken up his post yet. Itay Tanger is serving as acting ambassador.
Also on Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll dedicated the first direct commercial flight from Bahrain to Israel in a ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport.
“We will continue to make history,” he said. “I turn wholeheartedly and eagerly to all the states of the region: join us in the peace accords for a better future for our nations, so that there will be a better world for our children and grandchildren. Creating a direct air path between Israel and Bahrain is not only an important symbolic step, but it will increase trade, tourism and understanding between nations.”