Netanyahu likely to visit Manama, Abu Dhabi after Hanukkah

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Ashkenazi also planned to open the Israeli Embassy in Manama, at the location where a secret Israeli diplomatic office in Bahrain’s capital one existed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands with US President Donald Trump after signing the Abraham Accords, at the White House earlier this year. (photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands with US President Donald Trump after signing the Abraham Accords, at the White House earlier this year.

(photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office is working on a visit to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain after Hanukkah.

As such, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi’s planned trip to Bahrain next week was postponed, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani invited Ashkenazi to attend the 2020 Manama Dialogue, a summit of ministers from across the region on December 4-6 hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, during Al Zayani’s visit to Israel last week.

Ashkenazi also planned to open the Israeli Embassy in Manama, at the location where a secret Israeli diplomatic office in Bahrain’s capital one existed.

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However, Bahraini protocol dictates that the head of government must visit first, and as such, Al Zayani apologized to Ashkenazi and asked him to postpone his visit.

Netanyahu sought to visit Bahrain next week, before Ashkenazi, and then to continue to the UAE. He would be the first minister to pay an official visit to both countries since the Abraham Accords were signed in September.

However, December 2 is the UAE’s National Day, and its leadership asked Netanyahu to come at a later date.

As such, the trip will wait at least until later in December.

A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said that earlier media reports that a trip only to Bahrain last week were in the final stages of planning were premature and that the date was still being worked out.

Israeli delegations of senior unelected officials, led by National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, have been to the UAE and Bahrain in recent months to negotiate the details of normalization between Israel and the countries.

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