Ahead of a planned visit to Bahrain by the president of Israel Isaac Herzog this Sunday, many Bahrainis poured into the streets in different cities to denounce the trip, chanting “death to Israel”.
This Friday and Saturday, hundreds of people in Bahrain took to the streets in several areas of the country to express their strong criticism to the upcoming arrival of Israel’s president Isaac Herzog.
Chanting “death to Israel” for hours, the demonstrators showed their support for the oppression that Israel is committing in Palestine against Muslim Palestinians. Some protestors carried signs with Herzog’s image that read “criminal” and “you are not welcome in Bahrain.”
Herzog, who is expected to arrive in Bahrain this Sunday evening alongside a business delegation, will be the first Israeli head of state to visit Bahrain since Israel’s creation back in 1948.
The two-day visit will take Israel’s head of state to Manama, Bahrain and then it will be followed by a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Good to mention that both the abovementioned countries established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords. The agreement paved the way for normalization with Morocco months later.
Upon landing in Manama, Herzog will meet with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdul Lateef Rashid Al Zayani. He will then meet with members of the local Jewish community and senior government officials and will lead a group of Israeli businesspeople to meet with the Bahrain Economic Development Board.
On Monday, Herzog will go to the UAE to meet with his Emirati counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi ruler. Herzog will also attend the Abu Dhabi Space Debate.
Israel’s president said ahead of his departure that the trip was predominantly a message of peace in the region; “Another historic step in the relationship between Israel and Arab states that signed the Abraham Accords, with the hope that more and more countries will be able to join the circle of peace with the State of Israel,” Herzog said before departing Israel.
Nor red carpet for Israel’s president in Bahrain
Alongside the people of Bahrain who protested against Herzog’s visit to their country, well-known Bahraini figures also denounced the trip.
In a tweet to denounce Herzog’s visit, for example, Sheikh Isa Qassim, Bahrain’s leading Shia cleric, rebuked the move and said that “our proud people should say no to the desecration of the land of faith & dignity by the head of the Zionist entity.”
In yet another critical tweet, one Bahraini activist posts against Herzog, saying that “all normalization is an act of treason. Do not come.” Another tweeter post featured a picture of Herzog with his eyes reddened and a fire behind him along with the captions of “criminal” and “you are not welcome in Bahrain.”
Worried about the security of Israel’s president while in Bahrain, a report from Israel’s Channel 12 this Saturday said that the Shin Bet had decided to boost Herzog’s security detail for the trip following an online social media campaign from Bahraini opposition activists against the president’s trip.
Despite the cold shoulder from the part of the Bahraini people towards Israeli officials, it was last month in October that presumptive incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a phone call with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, discussing potential ways for cooperation and deepening relations. During the phone call, Netanyahu also invited Al Khalifa to visit Israel as soon as possible.