Netanyahu to Make First Official Visit to UAE Thursday, Ten Days Before Election

Netanyahu will meet with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed and return to Israel on the same day. Israeli officials are also hoping for a meeting with Saudi crown prince, but no confirmation from Riyadh

Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in London, in December. Netanyahu will arrive Thursday
Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in London, in December. Netanyahu will arrive ThursdayCredit: POOL/ REUTERS
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will fly to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, ten days before Israel's fourth election in two years, according to sources in the government. This marks his first official visit to the UAE since the establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel.

Netanyahu is expected to meet with Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and return to Israel on the same day. According to governmental sources, the trip was coordinated with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

Israeli officials, led by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, are also trying to secure a meeting between Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which would be their first public meeting.

However, a Saudi official source denied the report and told Reuters that Prince Mohammed would not be visiting the UAE on Thursday and would not be meeting Netanyahu.

In September, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements to normalize ties with Israel becoming the first Arab states in a quarter century to break a longstanding taboo, in a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.

Saudi Arabia, a Gulf powerhouse and Islam's birthplace, encouraged the rapprochement but stopped short of recognizing Israel itself. In November, Israeli officials and sources familiar with the matter said Netanyahu and Prince Mohammed met covertly in the kingdom but Riyadh publicly denied the meeting.

In early February, Netanyahu delayed his trips to the UAE and Bahrain for the third time, due to the restrictions on air travel as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Government sources said that Netanyahu feared that traveling to the Gulf would spark criticism, as many citizens were unable to return as a result of Israel’s border controls.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott