President Herzog to the ambassador of Bahrain: “Brave states take brave steps. The Abraham Accords were the fruit of both vision and power. The growing partnership between our countries is a model for the whole Middle East, and I hope that other states in our region will be inspired by your example.”

“At this point in time, as new, credible reports are coming in of Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons capacity, it is more important than ever to be united in our struggle against extremist forces working to undermine stability and peace in our region.”

Ambassador Khaled Yusuf Al Jalahma of Bahrain: “Peace is the strategic choice of the Kingdom of Bahrain… His Majesty the King believes that dialogue, understanding, and building confidence are lofty principles and main foundations for achieving cooperation between nations and peoples… I am confident that this historic step will lay a solid foundation for relations between our two countries, based on the values of tolerance and coexistence between peoples, beliefs, and religions.”

Today, President Isaac Herzog received the credentials of the new ambassadors of Mexico, Estonia, Spain, Greece, Vatican City, and for the first time Bahrain, upon the assumption of their ambassadorial duties to Israel. The incoming ambassadors presented their letters of credence in formal ceremonies at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. The ambassadors were greeted by the IDF Orchestra playing their respective national anthems, and then proceeded to inspect the IDF honor guard. After presenting their letters of credence to President Herzog, the ambassadors signed the guest book of the President’s Residence, and at the end, the Israeli national anthem was played.

The accreditation of the ambassador of Bahrain comes on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords and the normalization of Bahrain-Israel relations. After the ceremony, President Herzog held a diplomatic working meeting with the new ambassador of Bahrain, H.E. Mr. Khaled Yusuf Al Jalahma, and they delivered joint statements to the press.

President Herzog: “The Abraham Accords were the fruit of both vision and power. The vision and power of states and national leaders. The growing partnership between our countries is a model for the whole Middle East, and I hope that other states in our region will be inspired by your example.”

The first ambassador to present his letter of credence was the incoming ambassador of the United Mexican States, H.E. Mr. Mauricio Escanero Figueroa. The ambassador of Mexico presented President Herzog a formal invitation to visit Mexico in 2022 to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel-Mexico relations. President Herzog said that he hopes to meet Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador soon and invited him for a reciprocal visit in Israel. President Herzog and Ambassador Figueroa discussed opportunities to encourage trade between Israel and Mexico.

The second ambassador to present his letter of credence was H.E Mr. Veikko Kala, Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia. President Herzog asked the ambassador to convey his congratulations to Estonian President-Elect Alar Karis on his recent election. President Herzog restated his expectation that Western nations boycott the upcoming Durban IV Conference. President Herzog and the Estonian ambassador discussed ways that Israel and Estonia can cooperate as two modern, highly digitized nations.

The third ambassador to present her letter of credence was H.E. Mrs. Ana María Salomón Pérez, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain. “Please send my warm regards to King Felipe,” said President Herzog at the beginning of the meeting. President Herzog and the Spanish ambassador discussed the rich common history shared by Spain and the Jewish people. The President hailed the strength of Israeli-Spanish relations and expressed hope to deepen cooperation, including at the level of the European Union.

The fourth ambassador to present his letter of credence was H.E. Mr. Kyriakos Loukakis, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic. President Herzog thanked the ambassador for President Katerina Sakellaropoulou’s invitation to visit Greece and said that he hopes to do so soon. Addressing the recent wildfires, President Herzog praised Israeli-Greek fire-fighting cooperation and said that both nations must work together to prepare for future ecological disasters. President Herzog stressed that Israel wishes to upgrade its relations with the European Union and asked Greece to assist in convening the EU-Israel Association Council.

The fifth ambassador to present his letter of credence was H.E. Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio of Vatican City. President Herzog hailed the importance of Israel-Vatican ties and reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to freedom of worship and the protection of all holy sites in Israel. “Religions have been challenged in the modern era,” said President Herzog. “Religions enable families and societies to function better. When one looks at religion itself, it gives a sense of purpose.” President Herzog added that he has been following the speeches of Pope Francis with great interest, hailing him as a “very important voice.”

Finally, H.E. Mr. Khaled Yusuf Al Jalahma presented his letter of credence to President Isaac Herzog as the first-ever ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the State of Israel. President Herzog and Ambassador Al Jalahma held a diplomatic working meeting, after which they made a joint statement to the press, in Hebrew and Arabic.

President Isaac Herzog thanked His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for his ground-breaking decision to normalize relations with Israel and said: “The Abraham Accords were the fruit of both vision and power. The vision and power of states and national leaders. The growing partnership between our countries is a model for the entire Middle East, and I hope that other states in our region will be inspired by your example. Mr. Ambassador, please convey my warmest greetings and respect  to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, whom I hope to meet during my presidency. *Bahrain has always served as a model and exemplar of coexistence between different religions and cultures. It is only natural that the name ‘Bahrain’ in Arabic, meaning ‘two seas,’ suits a country that forms a bridge between different nations and cultures, including a fascinating ancient Jewish community alongside Muslim, Christian, and other communities.”

President Herzog added: “At this point in time, as new, credible reports are coming in of Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons capacity, it is more important than ever to be united in our struggle against extremist forces working to undermine stability and peace in our region.”

President Herzog welcomed the ambassador and his wife to Israel and said that he hopes to attend the formal opening of the Bahraini Embassy in Israel.

Ambassador Khaled Yusuf Al Jalahma began by conveying to President Herzog the personal greetings of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. “It is a great honor to be the first ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the State of Israel after the establishment of full diplomatic relations between our two countries,” he said, adding: “Peace is the strategic choice of the Kingdom of Bahrain… His Majesty the King believes that dialogue, understanding, and confidence-building  are lofty principles and main foundations for achieving cooperation between nations and peoples… I am confident that this historic step will lay a solid foundation for relations between our two countries, based on the values of tolerance and coexistence between peoples, beliefs, and religions.”

The ambassador continued: “I wish the citizens of Israel health, well-being, security, stability, and prosperity. The Kingdom of Bahrain is guided in its diplomatic relations by solid national principles based on firm foundations and authentic values of prosperity and acceptance of the other… Throughout history, the Kingdom of Bahrain has committed in its relations with other states to promote stability, peace, and prosperity for the peoples of the region… In my role, and in cooperation with the Government of Israel, I shall strive to make our relations constructive and beneficial for both sides. I also expect, on a personal level, to develop relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Israel in various fields for the benefit of both states and their peoples, for the benefit of mutual assistance and strengthening security, stability, and development in our region.”

Ambassador Al Jalahma added in English: “These are not only brave and historic steps, these are giant steps into a future of peace, security, and prosperity for us all. I am confident that the Abraham Accords will forge a path and inspire all nations to strive for a better, more prosperous and secure world.”