President Isaac Herzog was set to take off for Bahrain early Sunday morning for a two-day visit to Israel’s allies in the Persian Gulf region.

The trip is the first by an Israeli president to the island kingdom, which established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, and will be followed by a visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Upon landing in Manama, Herzog will meet with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdul Lateef Rashid Al Zayani.

He will then head to Al-Qudaibiya Palace, where he will meet King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa over lunch.

In the afternoon, Herzog is slated to meet with members of the local Jewish community, then will head to a meeting with the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

On Monday, the president will take off for Abu Dhabi to meet with his Emirati counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi ruler known colloquially as MBZ. Herzog will also attend the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, a forum on space exploration policy that will also feature Indian President Narendra Modi.

Representatives from Israel’s Innovation Authority, Start-Up Nation Central, the Israel Export Institute, and other trade officials are accompanying the president on the trip.

The visit takes place as the Gulf has seen recent displays of anti-Israel sentiment, cracking the visage of widespread backing for normalization in both Bahrain and the UAE. Opposition to official government policy is rare in both countries, which are run by authoritarian regimes.

Ahead of Herzog’s visit on Friday, however, protesters in Bahrain chanted “death to Israel” at rallies against the upcoming trip. The protesters were affiliated with opposition groups that are supportive of Iran, the Ynet news site reported.

Some carried signs with Herzog’s image that said “criminal” and “you are not welcome in Bahrain.”

Local authorities allowed the anti-Israel protests to take place, but will not permit similar events during Herzog’s visit, the report said.

A Bahraini opposition outlet said the demonstrators burned an Israeli flag and squared off with riot police.

A Thursday report from Israel’s Channel 12 said the Shin Bet had decided to boost Herzog’s security detail for the trip following an online social media campaign from Bahraini opposition activists.

One of the activist posts against Herzog said, “All normalization is an act of treason. Do not come.”

In Qatar, which is hosting the World Cup, some Israeli visitors to the country for the tournament have been harassed and accosted by locals and others.

Israel normalized ties with the UAE and Bahrain in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords. The agreement paved the way for normalization with Morocco months later.

In January, Herzog visited the UAE’s Abu Dhabi and Dubai in a two-day trip.

Last month, presumptive incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a phone call with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

The pair shared their desire to continue to deepen relations between the two countries, and Netanyahu invited Al Khalifa to visit Israel.

In October, a delegation of Israeli paratroopers held a joint jump over Bahrain, alongside soldiers from the Gulf nation, the UAE, and the United States to mark two years since the signing of the Abraham Accords.

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Herzog set to take off for first state visit to Bahrain

26 18 11
04.12.2022

President Isaac Herzog was set to take off for Bahrain early Sunday morning for a two-day visit to Israel’s allies in the Persian Gulf region.

The trip is the first by an Israeli president to the island kingdom, which established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, and will be followed by a visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Upon landing in Manama, Herzog will meet with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdul Lateef Rashid Al Zayani.

He will then head to Al-Qudaibiya Palace, where he will meet King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa over lunch.

In the afternoon, Herzog is slated to meet with members of the local Jewish community, then will head to a meeting with the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

On Monday, the president will take off for Abu Dhabi to meet with his Emirati counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi ruler known colloquially as MBZ. Herzog will also attend the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, a forum on space exploration policy that will also feature Indian President Narendra Modi.

Representatives from Israel’s Innovation Authority, Start-Up Nation Central, the Israel Export Institute, and other trade officials are accompanying the president on the trip.

The visit takes place as the Gulf has seen recent displays of........

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