Manama, Bahrain – Despite the conference, Israel and Bahrain are not establishing diplomatic relations. Right now, the focus is on a peace agreement with the Palestinians, only then will the Gulf states be ready for a normalization with Israel, writes journalist Raphael Ahren from the Times of Israel.
Still, the Israelis have received a very warm reception, which according to the Times of Israel is a clear sign that times have changed. A small group of people from the country, formerly known as the “Zionist enemy”, have been welcomed with open arms in Bahrain.
Due to the Palestinian boycott of the conference, the White House had not invited Israeli officials. Israeli press people, representatives from business and civil society who have found their way to this small island nation received VIP treatment. Even if a formal normalization between Bahrain and Israel were to fail, the personal Israeli-Bahraini ties seemed almost normal, writes the Times of Israel.
According to the Times of Israel, journalists noted how politely the Bahraini treated them, even before traveling to Manama. The Bahrain authorities did not hesitate when the US administration requested that a number of Israeli journalists be accredited for the conference. It is 25 years since Israeli journalists last received an official invitation to Bahrain. And when some of the journalists had problems with their visa application, the authorities provided a quick and unbereaucratic solution.
All delegates at the conference received a VIP treatment. It was not a matter of course that the Israelis would receive exactly the same treatment as the participants from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia.
No one looked down on the Israeli journalists – on the contrary. While journalists from other countries were given press cards, the Israeli journalists were given access as delegates, which gave them special access to several events during the conference.
Everywhere the Israeli journalists were greeted with kindness and those who respected were taken into account. kosher rules, writes Times of Israel.
Al-Hammadi – a former government minister – told Israeli journalists they could ask him anything, provided it was unofficial.