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‘The whole world is watching’ as Bahrain, Israel sign economic agreements

Bahrain’s commerce, tourism minister in Jerusalem says benefits will trickle down to the common citizens

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahraini Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed bin Rashid Al-Zayani (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

JERUSALEM — Bahrain and Israel are wasting no time in making the Abraham Accords a reality, the benefits of which will trickle down to all of its citizens, the Bahraini tourism and commerce minister said on Wednesday. 

“We’re moving at quite a fast pace because we want to catch up on lost time,”  Bahraini Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed bin Rashid Alzayani said.

 “The peace has been signed. The diplomatic foundation has been laid,” he continued. “It’s upon us now, as ministers of trade and commerce and industry and tourism to move forward to facilitate that, to forge the peace by having direct and constant integration between the business communities, which we believe will filter down even to the common citizen in Bahrain and Israel.”

Alzayani also thanked American President Donald Trump for facilitating the Abraham Accords which “are paving a new future for future generations to leave this world a better place for them than we have inherited.”

After meeting yesterday with Israel’s Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen, Alzayani met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Wednesday.

“I think we understand this is a real peace — a peace between our peoples, a peace that will open economic benefits that were unimaginable just a few months ago, but now are coming to be,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “And I think this will broaden the circle of peace not only for our own two peoples, but for all countries in the Middle East and perhaps beyond.”

This is Bahrain’s first-ever trade delegation to Israel. It follows a visit by the country’s foreign minister two weeks ago, the country’s first official state visit.

Now, Alzayani said, he is “eager” for direct flights between Bahrain and Tel Aviv to begin for tourists to the respective countries.

Ashkenazi said he hopes to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Manama soon and meanwhile, both countries "are working fast ... to bring about the implementation of the agreements, as soon as possible, so that the peoples of our countries can soon enjoy the fruits of the peace that we have dreamed of."

“We have a desire to promote change in the Middle East, change that brings with it peace, stability, security and economic prosperity,” Ashkenazi said. “There are many, many more collaborations to come.”

Alzayani and Israel’s Economy Minister Amir Peretz signed several Memoranda Of Understanding (MOUs) for small businesses suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Diversifying the collaborative efforts strengthens Israel’s financial and national resilience,” Peretz said. “That’s why opening additional financial avenues is so important. We’re proud to complete our meeting with significant understandings that express financial growth.”

Alzayani told his Israeli counterparts that during his visit he hoped to “learn new things about your culture, and not just about financial matters.”

“Bahrain has always been a peaceful country. The Bahraini government, together with the Bahraini people are proud of the normalization of relations signed with Israel,” he said.

Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.

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