Israeli National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani on Sunday signed a joint communique on the establishment of “diplomatic, peaceful and friendly” relations between Jerusalem and Manama.

According to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, at the ceremony in the Bahraini capital, the directors general of the two countries’ relevant ministries simultaneously signed eight Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) relating to economics, trade, finance, commerce, civil aviation, telecommunications, IT, postal services, agriculture and the easing of visa requirements for diplomats and holders of service passports.

Ahead of the signing of the joint communique and MoUs, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone with Al Zayani and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, head of the U.S. delegation to Bahrain. During the conversation, Netanyahu welcomed the signing and said that “giant steps toward peace” were being made in Manama that day.

Netanyahu also pointed to the first flight from Israel to Bahrain—it transported the U.S. delegation, headed by Mnuchin, and the Israeli delegation, led by Ben-Shabbat, on El Al Airlines flight 973 (a nod to Bahrain’s telephone country code)—calling it a “continuation of the breakthrough towards peace.”

The burgeoning ties between Jerusalem and Manama formally began with Israel’s signing of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in Washington on Sept. 15.

During that ceremony, Al Zayani signed the “Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations Between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.”


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