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May 27, 2022 12:41 pm
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Israel Hosts Its First Independence Day Celebration in Gulf Region

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

(From left) Ambassador Dr. Sheikh Abdallah bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Ambassador Eitan Na’eh and Ambassador Steve Bondy at a Yom Haatzmaut event in Bahrain on May 26, 2022. Photo: Provided.

The Israeli Embassy in Bahrain hosted on Thursday the first celebration of Israel’s Independence Day to be held in a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country.

The GCC states include Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman.

Hundreds of Bahraini government officials and business leaders attended the event, as well as heads of major companies from Israel’s oil and gas, cyber, manufacturing, fintech, high-tech, pharmaceutical and logistics sectors. Israeli “Fauda” star and singer Tsahi Halevi gave a performance, and Israeli chef Doron Sasson prepared a special menu combining Bahraini and Israeli dishes. The band of Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior played the Israeli and Bahraini national anthems.

The evening, which highlighted the ties that have developed between Bahrain and Israel since the signing of the Abraham Accords, included a recorded message from Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who opened the Israeli Embassy in Bahrain in September 2021. There were also speeches by Ambassador Dr. Sheikh Abdallah bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, undersecretary in Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry, and Israel’s first Ambassador to Bahrain, Eitan Na’eh.

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“Our Yom Haatzmaut reception shows the authentic, warm and genuine relationship between Israel and Bahrain — its leadership and people,” said Ambassador Na’eh at the event, held several weeks after Israel marked Independence Day. “The new Middle East is built upon a shared desire to cooperate in all areas from security to sustainable energy, water and food security to tourism and other areas.”

Na’eh also discussed the economic collaborations between the two nations as well as investments, agreements and joint ventures in the areas of medical research, technology and trade. He further highlighted ways in how Israel and Bahrain can partner in higher education, technology, and arts and culture.

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