Bahrain’s first-ever ambassador to the Jewish state arrived in Israel on Tuesday to take up his new diplomatic post.
In a tweet, Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma stressed the historic importance of his diplomatic mission to Israel.
“A historic journey in the making accompanied by my wife. We are both very excited!” he wrote.
Jalahma also tweeted in Arabic, Hebrew and English stating: “The opportunity to fulfil His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s vision of peaceful coexistence with all nations is a privilege that I will hold in high regard.”
In September 2020, Bahrain became the second Arab state, after the United Arab Emirates, to establish full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state as part of the American-led historic Abraham Accords with an official ceremony at the White House. At the end of 2020, Sudan and Morocco also agreed to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.
In March, the United Arab Emirates sent its first ambassador – Mohamed Al Khaja – to Israel to take up his position at UAE’s newly opened embassy in Tel Aviv.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry welcomed the arrival of the Bahraini ambassador to Israel, stressing that his arrival “and the upcoming official opening of the Bahraini Embassy in Israel.”
In an additional statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat emphasized the importance of Bahraini-Israeli relations for the entire Middle East region.
“The Bahraini Embassy in Israel, as well as the Israeli Embassy in Bahrain, have a central role in the strengthening of the bilateral relations and serve as yet another milestone of the vision of the peace accords signed in 2020,” Haiat said.
Jalahma is an experienced diplomat and has served as Bahrain’s deputy ambassador to the United States in the pastand held other senior diplomatic positions. Bahrain’s decision to send such as seasoned diplomat to Israel, therefore, signals the importance the country attributes to its newly-established bilateral relations with Jerusalem.
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry stated that Ambassador Jalahma’s arrival to Israel marked “an important step in developing the bilateral relations between the two countries and their peoples which has been a priority for the foreign ministers of both countries. The Bahraini Embassy in Israel, as well as the Israeli Embassy in Bahrain, have a central role in the strengthening of the bilateral relations and serve as yet another milestone of the vision of the peace accords signed in 2020.”
Bahrain and Israel have quickly established close ties that extend beyond diplomacy and commerce. During his visit to Israel in August, Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Relations Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmad al-Khalifa openly met with Tal Kelman, a senior IDF commander in charge of Iranian matters.
While covert security-related ties between Israel and friendly Arab states are not new, they signal a dramatic shift in relations between the Jewish state and several Sunni Arab states that all view the Iranian regime as a strategic threat to the entire Middle East.
Bahrain, a tiny island kingdom, is particularly vulnerable to Iranian aggression due to its geographic proximity to Iran and ongoing attempts by Tehran to incite Bahrain’s Shiite majority population against the Sunni-dominated government.