Gulf Air launches commercial flights from Bahrain to Israel

The first direct commercial flight from Bahrain to Israel took off on Thursday. The Arab state signed the US-brokered Abraham Accord last year, agreeing to normalize relations with Israel.

Gulf Air will now be operating two flights per week on the route, the airline said in a statement earlier this month.

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According to Gulf Air, the move is part of the “political, commercial and civil aviation agreements signed last year between the two countries.” This refers to the Abraham Accord signed by Bahrain and Israel in 2020, an agreement to normalize diplomatic and trade relations between the two states. Bahrain became the fourth Arab country to officially recognize Israel after the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.

Israel named its first ambassador to Bahrain earlier this month, while the Gulf country named its ambassador to Israel in March. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid flew to Bahrain earlier on Thursday on an official visit to inaugurate Israel’s embassy in Manama and hold talks with his Bahraini counterpart.

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According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Lapid also plans to sign five memorandums of understanding (MOUs), including cooperation agreements between hospitals, water and power companies.

The main areas in which Bahrain is looking for cooperation have to do with the economy and technology, and a few of the MOUs that will be signed [on Thursday] will be about that,” the ministry spokesperson said, as cited by Alarabiya. He noted that 12 MOUs have already been signed so far, covering transportation, agriculture, communication and finance spheres.

We see Bahrain as an important partner, on the bilateral level but also as a bridge to cooperate with other countries in the region,” the spokesperson said.

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