Strengthening Bridges: Israel and Bahrain Eye Transformative Free Trade Deal

Great news is brewing in the Middle East! Israel is pushing forward in diplomatic leaps and bounds with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen embarking on a landmark visit to Bahrain. The spotlight of this visit? Finalizing a Free Trade Agreement, a powerful step following the historic normalization of relations between Israel and Bahrain in 2020, thanks to the Abraham Accords.

Upon arriving in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, Cohen was warmly received by his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani. As diplomacy thrives on personal relationships, this warm reception was a clear sign of the increasingly close ties between the two nations.

The visit is filled with symbolic and substantial milestones. Cohen will inaugurate the permanent Israeli Embassy in Bahrain—a concrete symbol of ongoing friendship and cooperation. Several Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) are also on the table, highlighting shared interests and mutual benefits.

Not stopping there, Cohen is scheduled to hold discussions with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. When you’re discussing matters with the highest echelons of leadership, you know that the relationship is not just being maintained but indeed deepened.

In a recent interview with Al-Ayyam, a local newspaper, Cohen expressed his outlook: “Our vision of the Middle East is one in which people live in peace and security. The goal is to ensure economic prosperity and create a new reality.”

Sounds promising, doesn’t it?

Israeli Ambassador to Bahrain, Eitan Na’eh, has also previously emphasized the strategic role of Bahrain as a “gateway to ties with other regional Arab countries.” If you’ve been watching the regional dynamics, you’ll remember that Bahrain isn’t the only Middle Eastern nation that Israel has warmed relations with. The Abraham Accords also led to diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan.

Just a year ago, both the Israeli President and Prime Minister visited Bahrain, marking the first-ever state visits to the kingdom. And let’s not forget the participation of an Israeli parliamentary delegation at a conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Bahrain, emphasizing Israel’s acceptance and integration into regional and global diplomatic circles.

But Israel is not only looking westward. This year, Israel already has had free trade agreements with South Korea and the UAE kick into action. And there’s more! Agreements with Vietnam and negotiations with Moldova have also been inked. Not to mention, plans to expand the existing free trade pact with India are well underway.

So what’s the takeaway here? Israel is more than a country; it’s a symbol of innovation, friendship, and peace. A nation that, despite its challenging neighborhood, strives to build bridges with its neighbors near and far, always underlining the values of democracy, pluralism, and mutual respect.

As the old saying goes, “To make a friend, be a friend.” Israel continues to embody this, showing the world how diplomacy is done right. Cheers to a future that lives up to the vision of peace and prosperity in the Middle East and beyond.