Israel opens embassy in Bahrain

Visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani have jointly inaugurated the Israeli embassy here in the wake of the two countries normalising their ties.

As he arrived in Manama on Thursday, Lapid became the highest Israeli official to visit Bahrain, Xinhua news agency.

The visit is “a milestone” in the rapid development of the bilateral relations, Zayani told a press conference.

The two Ministers signed several cooperation agreements on environmental protection, sports, innovation, and development of water resources.

Later in the day, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa received Lapid at the Sakhir Palace, said a statement quoted by the Bahrain News Agency.

Also on Thursday, a Gulf Air Airbus A320 arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, which was the first direct commercial flight between Bahrain and Israel.

The flight by Bahrain’s national carrier departed from Manama about an hour after Lapid landed.

The flight between Manama and Tel Aviv would be operated twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, according to a statement issued by the Israeli Transportation Ministry.

The trip from Bahrain to Israel will take two hours and 50 minutes, and two hours and 35 minutes for the return trip.

During an ceremony held at the Ben Gurion Airport, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll said that the new route would “allow citizens of the two countries to work together and develop scientific, cultural and business collaborations”.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed the US-brokered agreements called the Abraham Accords to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in September 2020.