Bennett’s first visit to Bahrain feels perfectly normal

The Israeli prime minister visits Bahrain: It almost feels routine, without any major headlines,  argues Haaretz.

Prime minister Naftali Bennett meeting Bahraini ministers and officials

MANAMA – The most remarkable thing about Naftali Bennett’s short visit to Bahrain, the first-ever official visit by an Israeli prime minister to this small kingdom on the Persian Gulf, is how normal something that was unthinkable just a few years ago now seems.

The military guard of honor is immaculate, but there isn’t much fanfare. The security is adequate, but it’s not a major operation. The historic first visit feels perfectly normal. An Israeli leader took a short flight to an Arab country. Spent 24 hours there meeting the local leadership. Then he flew back. Almost a banal visit without any major headlines. Could it really be as simple as it sounds?

It has taken over four decades since Israel’s first peace agreement with an Arab country for its relations with some Arab countries to reach this level of normalcy. Relations with that first pioneer, Egypt, are still far from simple. Despite the rather touching sight of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi personally greeting Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar at a conference this week, most of the engagement between the two countries remains between their militaries.

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