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Cohen inaugurates Israeli embassy during diplomatic trip to Bahrain

During a joint ceremony with his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Cohen affixed a mezuzah on the embassy's doorpost.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen affixes a mezuzah on the doorpost of the Israeli embassy in Manama, Bahrain, Sept. 4, 2023. Photo by Shlomi Amsalem/GPO.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen affixes a mezuzah on the doorpost of the Israeli embassy in Manama, Bahrain, Sept. 4, 2023. Photo by Shlomi Amsalem/GPO.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen inaugurated the permanent home of the Israeli embassy in Manama on Monday as part of his first official visit to Bahrain, which normalized ties with Jerusalem in 2020 under the auspices of the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords.

During a joint ceremony with his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Cohen affixed a mezuzah on the embassy’s doorpost.

“This is an exciting moment for me, which indicates the warming relations between the countries,” said Israel’s top diplomat. “I will continue to act so that we will be able to establish mezuzot in more Israeli embassies around the world.”

Al Zayani told attendees that the embassy’s inauguration “signifies our shared commitment to strengthening and cultivating bilateral relations that will ultimately serve the best interests of peace, security and prosperity for all the peoples of our region.”

Cohen is leading a political and commercial delegation that will participate in activities to promote trade and investment between the countries, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced ahead of the trip.

The visit was planned “in order to continue building, expanding and deepening the [bilateral] friendship … while strengthening agreements in the economic and trade fields,” Cohen said in an interview with the local Al-Ayyam newspaper published on Monday.

“Our vision of the Middle East is one in which people live in peace and security. The goal is to ensure economic prosperity and create a new reality,” he added.

Also on Sept. 4, Cohen met with Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at Manama’s Gudaibiya Palace. The two discussed “regional challenges and the commitment of the two countries to the fight against terrorism, extremism and violence in order to create an atmosphere that will allow the expansion of the circle of peace,” according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry readout.

The Israeli diplomat also met with U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Steven Bondy and Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Vice Adm. Brad Cooper at the Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain.

In June, Israeli Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Na’eh told JNS that Bahrain can serve as a gateway to ties with other regional Arab countries. “There is a potential here to widen our connections not only with Bahrain but to the [other] Arab Gulf states,” said Na’eh. “Bahrain can be the point of connection between East and West.”

U.S.-brokered talks are in full swing to forge a normalization agreement between Jerusalem and Saudi Arabia, a development Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said would constitute a “quantum leap” towards regional peace.

The Abraham Accords also saw Israel establish relations with the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan.

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