Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled for the third time an upcoming trip to the United Arab Emirates, further delaying the first state visit by the leader of the Jewish state to the Gulf state.
"Despite the importance of the trip to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to postpone the visit at this stage due to the closing of the skies," the Government Press Office said in a statement this morning. "Prime Minister Netanyahu very much appreciates the invitations of Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and the historic peace that has been established between our countries."
It would have been another historic moment since the Sept. 15 signing of the Abraham Accords which resulted in normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world including also Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
Netanyahu has now delayed his trip three times as he deals with the pandemic at home and Israel's out-of-control COVID cases which have resulted in draconian measures such as the shuttering of the airport, education system and several sectors of the economy.
Since the Abraham Accords were signed, Israel and the UAE have made tremendous strides in business and trade deals while Israeli tourism to the Gulf state boomed in the short time it was open this past fall with some 130,000-plus Israelis traveling to the UAE.
However, Israel's Health Ministry changed the UAE’s status to “red” - essentially putting an end to travel there and chilling the diplomatic process in the meantime.
On top of that, Israel had to apologize to the UAE after a top health official said that peace with the Gulf state has resulted in more Israeli deaths than being at war with the UAE, which Israel never actually was.
Sharon Alroy-Preis said that returning Israelis brought back mutations of the coronavirus resulting in record high infections and deaths in Israel in the month of January.
Currently the country is locked down hermetically — including all land and air borders.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.