The relations between Israel and Bahrain took another significant step forward last week, as the first-ever Bahraini ambassador to Israel presented his credentials to Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Yet even as the focus was on Israel and Bahrain, Iran was still looming in the background. “At this point in time, as new, credible reports are coming in of Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons capacity, it is more important than ever to be united in our struggle against extremist forces working to undermine stability and peace in our region,” said Herzog on Thursday following the ambassador ceremony.
Herzog, whose comments were part of a joint statement with Bahrain published by Israel, believes the impact of the Israel-Bahrain relationship—made possible by the Abraham Accords peace deal—will go much, much farther than Iran. “Brave states take brave steps… The growing partnership between our countries is a model for the entire Middle East, and I hope that other states in our region will be inspired by your example,” said Herzog to Bahraini Ambassador Khaled Yusuf Al Jalahma.
For his part, Jalahma called it a “great honor” to be his country’s first ambassador to Israel. “Peace is the strategic choice of the Kingdom of Bahrain,” said Jalahma in the joint statement “…I am confident that this historic step will lay a solid foundation for relations between our two countries, based on the values of tolerance and coexistence between peoples, beliefs, and religions.”
Jalahma sees his personal efforts as part of that broader mission as well. “In my role, and in cooperation with the Government of Israel, I shall strive to make our relations constructive and beneficial for both sides,” said Jalahma. “I also expect, on a personal level, to develop relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Israel in various fields for the benefit of both states and their peoples, for the benefit of mutual assistance and strengthening security, stability, and development in our region.”
Ceremony marking Ambassador Jalahma’s service in Israel came the same week as the one-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords, which were initially signed between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Since then, Sudan and Morocco have joined the peace pact with Israel as well.
Marking the momentous anniversary, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a separate statement published by his office on Friday called the Accords “unprecedented agreements” and “a new chapter in the history of peace in the Middle East.”
Said Bennett, “I would like to thank the leadership of the UAE and of Bahrain for the courage and the daring that enabled the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the American administration which tirelessly led, supported and mediated the success of this achievement.
“Relations between the countries are only at their beginning and are already bearing many fruit.”
Like Bennett, Ambassador Jalahma sees the significance of his work and the Abraham Accords not only in making history, but in offering hope for the new era going forward. “These are not only brave and historic steps, these are giant steps into a future of peace, security, and prosperity for us all,” Jalahma said in the joint statement. “I am confident that the Abraham Accords will forge a path and inspire all nations to strive for a better, more prosperous and secure world.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com September 19, 2021)