Israeli Defense Minister Lands in Bahrain in Unannounced Visit
2022-02-02 - 10:09 p
Bahrain Mirror: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz landed in the Bahraini capital on Wednesday (February 2, 2022) afternoon in an unannounced visit.
The Israeli army newspaper said that defense minister Benny Gantz arrived in Bahrain in his first official visit to the island kingdom.
Meanwhile, Bahrain didn't issue any comment on the visit.
The Times of Israel website said that "For security reasons, Gantz's landmark trip was kept secret until he landed in Manama, and details of his schedule in the island kingdom were similarly not immediately permitted for publication."
Gantz was scheduled to spend just over 24 hours in the Persian Gulf country, meeting with top Bahraini officials, including King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and Minister of Defense Affairs Abdullah Bin Hassan Al-Noaimi, before returning to Israel late Thursday night.
In addition, the defense minister was scheduled to visit the United States Navy's 5th Fleet, as well to meet with its commander Brad Cooper.
In a symbolic turn of events, the plane carrying Gantz for his first official visit to Bahrain was the same Boeing 707 used by Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to make his landmark trip to Israel. Gantz made his trip to Bahrain through Saudi Arabian airspace, marking one of the first known times that an Israeli Air Force plane made such a trip publicly.
The defense minister was joined on the trip by Defense Ministry Director-General Amir Eshel, Israeli Navy chief David Salame, and the head of the ministry's influential Political-Military Bureau, Zohar Palti.
Bahrain and Israel normalized ties in September 2020.