Israeli Army Chief Kochavi Meets With Security Leaders in Bahrain

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi's meetings with top Bahraini officials follow those of Gantz and Bennett last month, part of Israel's push for regional security cooperation as negotiators in Vienna near a revived Iran nuclear deal

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi in Herzliya, Israel, last month.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi in Herzliya, Israel, last month.Credit: Hadas Parush
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Israeli army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi landed in Bahrain on Wednesday to meet top Bahraini security officials, his first such visit to the kingdom.

Following an official reception, Kochavi met with his Bahraini counterpart, Major General Theyab bin Saqer Al Noaimi, followed by meetings with the secretary general of the Supreme Security Council and national security adviser, Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

His visit comes a year and a half since the signing of the Abraham Accords, which normalized ties between Israel and Bahrain.

Kochavi's visit tails those of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz last month, which focused on Iran and led to a security agreement to bolster intelligence sharing, joint military training and cooperation between the countries’ defense industries.

As negotiators in Vienna inch closer to reviving a nuclear agreement with Iran, Israeli leaders are warning of the dangers of such a revival for regional security.

"We may see an agreement in a short while," Bennett said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting two weeks ago. "We're preparing for the day after on all levels, so that we can keep Israeli citizens safe on our own."

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid hailed "true cooperation" following his meeting with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama last September, in the first high-level official Israeli visit to the Gulf state since the countries established ties last year.

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