Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Bahrain Thursday and signed a military pact with the Gulf country as part of the Israelis efforts to build a regional alliance against Iran.
Israel and Bahrain formalized relations in 2020 under a US-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords. “Our formal relations allow us to come in and work together against shared threats. We are only in our first year of the Abraham Accords — in the coming decade there will be significant developments,” Gantz said.
Gantz said the deal is meant to increase intelligence cooperation, create a framework for military exercises, and strengthen ties between the countries’ defense industries. Israel signed a similar agreement with Morocco, but this is the first military pact between Israel and a Gulf Arab state.
The visit came as Israel is participating in a massive US-led naval exercise in the Middle East. Notably, Saudi Arabia and Oman are also involved in the drills, marking Israel’s first official drills with the two Gulf nations. Last November, Israel held its first official joint exercises with the UAE and Bahrain.
Gantz also visited the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain, where he touted the cooperation and warned of “threats” from Iran. Gantz said it was a “significant milestone” that Israeli Air Force planes could now land in the country.