By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — February 15, 2022 … Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held an historic meeting today with the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at his private palace. The meeting took place in the framework of the Prime Minister’s official visit to the country.
The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa stated: “I consider it a historical day, to receive the prime minister of Israel. His visit to Bahrain will be a fruitful visit, a successful visit, because of his determination and leadership towards a joint, integrated effort for the best of the two peoples. I thank him for coming here.”
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded: “Your Majesty, it has been a huge honor to visit your wonderful Kingdom of Bahrain, and I admire your courage and your determination to build your country. I think we discussed many ways to build new bridges, and an architecture for a stronger and more stable region. And I’m looking forward to continuing this remarkable relationship.”
The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa: “Inshallah. By the will of G-d.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett: “By the will of G-d. In Hebrew it’s Be’ezrat HaShem. In Arabic it’s inshallah.”
Warm relations have existed between Bahrain and Israel since Bahrain achieved its independence in 1971. In recent years, relations between the two nations expanded and the countries agreed to establish diplomatic relations in September 2020. The foreign minister of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa has been quoted saying: “Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region, historically. So, the Jewish people have a place amongst us.”
Bennett’s trip illustrated the speed at which Israel has cemented close relations with several Arab governments since the country formalized diplomatic relations with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, re-established relations with Morocco, and improved them with Sudan, all in 2020.
Bennett told Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Bahraini prime minister, at the start of their meeting:
“Our goal in this visit is to turn it from a government-to-government to a people-to-people peace and to convert it from ceremonies to substance.”
“To substance, exactly,” Prince Salman replied, describing the meeting as “cousins getting together.”