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Knesset Ethics panel probing Lapid’s Italian trip

The opposition leader met the UAE's top diplomat during the visit.

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (left) meets with Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid in Italy, Aug. 8, 2023. Source: Twitter.
Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (left) meets with Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid in Italy, Aug. 8, 2023. Source: Twitter.

The Knesset Ethics Committee is looking into opposition leader Yair Lapid’s trip this week to Italy, which was reportedly paid for by his Yesh Atid Party.

During the trip, Lapid met with Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The three-hour meeting “laid the groundwork for relations between the countries, and we’ll continue to work together to deepen our joint interests and relations,” according to Lapid.

Knesset regulations require that the Ethics Committee approve such trips in advance.

“Currently, I am not aware of a request. As soon as it is submitted, the committee will discuss it similarly to any request,” Ethics Committee Chairman Yinon Azoulay said.

Lapid claims he received approval.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen slammed the development, saying: “There is a government that knows how to conclude agreements, and there is a former foreign minister who knows how to take pictures.

“We promise to conclude more agreements so that Lapid will have more people to take pictures with,” added Cohen.

Abdullah bin Zayed visited Jerusalem last September, and he was also in Israel in March 2022 for the Negev Summit along with his Bahraini, Moroccan, Egyptian and U.S. counterparts.

At the time, the top diplomats agreed to form a forum to discuss regional issues.

In May, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was been invited to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, scheduled to run from Nov. 30 through Dec. 12.

It will be his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Netanyahu was premier when Jerusalem normalized relations with Abu Dhabi in 2020 under the auspices of the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords.

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