Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the Arab Gulf state of Bahrain. He is said to have been invited by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Two months ago, Bahrain and Israel officially entered into relations. Last week, a delegation visited top officials from Bahrain in Israel. It is not yet known when Netanyahu will go to the island state.
Israel is generally not recognized as a state by Islamic countries due to the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories. However, Arab Gulf states now see Israel as an ally in the frictions with Shia Iran.
The Sunni al-Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain since the eighteenth century, and the elite is Sunni. But most of the residents, at least 60 percent, are Shia. They feel oppressed.
With rising tensions between the Gulf states and Iran, the rulers in the Gulf states are looking for allies in the region. The US Trump administration has done everything it can to persuade Islamic countries to recognize Israel.
The United Arab Emirates have, therefore, also recognized Israel. And Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud spoke with Netanyahu on Sunday, according to reliable sources.
The topics of conversation must have been Iran and normalization of relations. The government in Riyadh has denied that the two met. The ruling al-Saud family could run into problems with official recognition. She rules thanks in part to the support of radical Islamic clergy and also rules over millions of Shia Saudis.