Israel sees Bahrain as the next Arab state of the Gulf to publicly greet Israeli officials after the other two have done so in the past few weeks, signaling close Israeli-Arab ties before the conflict with Iran's mutual concerns.
In published reports Sunday and on Monday, the Israeli media quoted unnamed officials as saying Israel and Bahrain were working to establish official diplomatic ties. IsraelYediot Ahronot officials said that Bahrain is also likely to host the next public visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Arab state with which Israel has no formal relations.
Netanyahu previously unannounced left for Oman on October 25 and 26 for talks with his leader Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, a visit later published by both sides, which also have no diplomatic ties. It was the first such trip by the Israeli leader to Oman since 1996.
Netanyahu and Sultan Qaboos issued a joint statement saying that the two sides "considered ways to improve the peace process in the Middle East and discussed a series of issues of common interest in achieving peace and stability in the Middle East".
Oman later hosted Israeli intelligence and transport minister Israel Katz, who met on November 6 with several ministers of Arab countries to meet with his plan for a railroad linking a bay with the Mediterranean through Israel and Jordan.
The United Arab Emirates, which, like Oman, has no official relations with Israel, has made an unusual step in welcoming two other Israeli ministers at the end of October. Israeli Minister of Culture Miri Regev traveled to Abu Dhabi to delight the Israeli Judo's gold medal at the international judo tournament, while Israeli communications minister Ayoub Kara went to Dubai for an international telecommunications conference.
Speaking Sunday at a joint news conference with visiting Chadian President Idriss Déby, Netanyahu said that he would soon be visiting more Arab countries without elaboration. The only Arab states that recognize Israel are Egypt and Jordan.
With another sign that Bahrain will soon publicly greet Israeli officials, Reuters news agency said on Monday Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen told Israeli Radio Armia that he had received a call for a conference in Bahrain. Koen did not say whether he would travel to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Bahrain in April, and there was no confirmation of the call by a Bahrain official.
The unpopular visits of Israeli security officials to Arab states are common in the past five years, says the former Israeli ambassador to U.N. Dore Gould, now led by the Jerusalem Public Relations Center.
"What really changes the situation in the region is willingness to do it in public. That is a new reality," Gold told the audience at the Washington Hudson Institute on Tuesday.
Gold said that the support of Shi'ite militants by the Shiite majority in the region was "frightened into hell" from countries led by Sunni Arab neighboring Israel.
"It is a fear of the hegemonic ambitions of the non-Iranian forces of Iran and Turkey in the Middle East that give us and the Arabs a certain joint body for testimony," Gold said.
Gold, who served as Ambassador to U.N. between 1997 and 1999 and as Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry from 2015 to 2016, said that Arab countries have no reason to see the Jewish state as a threat.
"We do not ask for the creation of the Hebrew empire, although I think that our non-Arab neighbors have wide ambitions to keep in mind."
This article comes from the Persian VOA.