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Israel celebrates first visit of Bahrain foreign minister

Israel and Bahrain's foreign ministers met in Israel today as ties between the two countries warm at a rapid pace.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said today he hopes that mutual Israeli and Bahraini embassies will be inaugurated by the end of the year. Ashkenazi also announced that as of Dec. 1, Bahraini citizens will be able to apply online for a visa to visit Israel, noting that direct flights between the two countries will begin soon.

Gulf Air flight GF972 from Manama to Tel Aviv landed at the Ben Gurion airport at 10:30 a.m. local time. It was the first commercial non-stop flight between the two countries and the first ministerial visit from Bahrain to Israel. Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani lead a large official delegation including a deputy foreign minister, the head of Bahrain’s civil aviation and some journalists. He was also accompanied by a senior US delegation headed by the outgoing administration’s Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz. Honoring both senior guests upon landing, Israeli, Bahrain and American flags were posted on the tarmac, alongside a red carpet.

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