Some 300 Bahraini and Israeli business executives celebrated the strengthening ties between the two countries at the “Connect2Innovate” conference in Bahrain’s capital city of Manama.
The unique event was hosted by the Bahraini government, the Bahraini Embassy in Israel and the Israeli Embassy in Bahrain. Start-Up Nation Central, an Israeli nonprofit organization that focuses on connecting investors and governments to Israel’s vibrant tech scene, was also a leading engine behind the event.
Israeli Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Na’eh welcomed the conference attendees and expressed hope that Israel and Bahrain would sign a free trade agreement in the near future.
“A free trade agreement, I hope, will be signed very soon,” he said. “There’s not much left to negotiate and I think that together with a protection of investments, customs agreements, that are being negotiated are also very close to a signature.”
Bahrain, a comparatively small state in the Arabian Gulf, has often lived in the shadow of its neighbor, the United Arab Emirates. While hundreds of thousands of Israelis have visited the Emirati metropolis of Dubai, far fewer Israelis have reached Bahrain. However, the Israeli ambassador revealed that Israelis are gradually discovering Bahrain as a tourism and business destination.
“More and more Israelis are finding out about Bahrain,” said Na’eh. “We have a group of Israeli tour operators visiting Bahrain now, so I think that we’ll see more Israelis here soon. I think that we’re already seeing more Israelis. I’ve certainly seen more Israelis coming here in the past few months.”
In December, Israeli President Isaac Herzog made his first official visit to Bahrain to meet Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.