Israel and Bahrain to “normalise diplomatic ties”

An unnamed official has told Middle East Eye that an official announcement of the establishment of relations between Bahrain and Israel could happen as soon as next year.

The two countries are already working to set up exchange visits of businessmen and religious figures, and even of government ministers, the source added.

The source said: “I do not think we will witness the opening of an Israeli embassy here, but probably we will have official visits from ministers of trade and economic affairs.

“I would not say this year, maybe the year after, they will tell the populace that it is important to confront Iran, and people with time will accept it.”

In light of their shared hostility towards Iran, a Bahraini official told Middle East Eye that establishing ties with Israel would not be problematic, as unlike Iran, Israel does not pose a threat to the Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel. However, a trickle of Israeli tourists and businessmen have been known to visit the Gulf country in recent years.

“Israel does not threaten our security or conspire on us but Iran certainly does,” the official said.

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Imams in the country were recently ordered to stop anti-Israel sermons.

An Israeli rabbi, who recently met with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, was quoted by Israeli newspaper The Times of Israel as saying that the king said he opposes the Arab states’ boycott of Israel and intends to allow citizens from his kingdom to visit Israel freely.

“The king made a clear statement: ‘It’s illogical for the Arab world to boycott Israel. We must find a better way,’” he said.

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