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Israeli president appeals directly to people in Bahraini newspaper column

Amid protests, Isaac Herzog touches down in Manama on Sunday morning in historic visit to Bahrain

Israeli President Isaac Herzog welcomed by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama, Dec. 4, 2022 (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Ahead of his historic visit to Manama today, Israeli President Isaac Herzog appealed directly to the Bahraini people amid widespread protests against his visit.

Herzog published a column in the Bahraini newspaper, Al Ayam, on Sunday praising Bahrain’s decision to join the Abraham Accords as “a courageous decision” that “has already transformed our region.” 

In the days leading up to the visit, protestors in Bahrain denounced the visit, calling Herzog a “criminal” and saying he was not welcome in the country. They chanted “Death to Israel” and held up signs reading, “Isaac Herzog, go out!” (sic).

While local authorities allowed the protests before the visit, Israeli news site Ynet news reported that demonstrations would be banned during Herzog's stay. According to Israeli news site i24 News, the Shin Bet (Israel’s domestic security agency) increased security for the trip in response to local unrest expressed on social media. 

Herzog is traveling with a business delegation with the intention of strengthening cooperation between Israel and Bahrain's economic and industrial sectors.

“I believe that the single greatest opportunity facing the Middle East is a warm peace with Israel – unlocking the latent potential of partnerships with our dynamic, vibrant economy,” he wrote.

In a speech before leaving Israel, Herzog affirmed that the purpose of the visit was “predominantly a message of peace,” and expressed the hope that “more and more countries will be able to join the circle of peace with the State of Israel.” 

The president arrived in Bahrain today on a historic visit to the Arab state at the invitation of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, marking the first visit to Bahrain by an Israeli head of state. 

Herzog spoke on the tarmac of the Ben-Gurion International Airport in which he proclaimed his visit to be “another historic step in the relations between Israel and Arab states.” Herzog talked about his vision of a child who “seeing a Jewish leader warmly embrace an Arab leader” would realize that “a different future is possible.” 

He also expressed that the future of Israelis and Bahrainis “will be brighter, safer and more prosperous thanks to the partnership we deepen today.” Herzog highlighted the fact that Bahrain was one of the initial signers of the Abraham Accords and spoke of his desire to ensure that “the benefits of regional friendly relations reach each and every Israeli and Bahraini.” 

After visiting with the Bahrain Economic Development Board and members of the local Jewish community, Herzog will fly to Abu Dhabi on Monday to meet with Emirati leaders and to attend the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, a forum on space exploration policy. The forum will also be attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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