Israeli Delegation Cancels Visit to Bahrain Citing Security Concerns

Despite recent signs of warming ties, the kingdom's parliament issues statement rejecting the visit as protesters took to the streets of the capital

FILE Photo: Bahrain's King Hamed bin Isa Al Khalifa smiles during a palace ceremony in Sakhir, Bahrain, March 20, 2012.
AP

An Israeli delegation of businessmen and government officials planning to take part in a business conference in Bahrain canceled its visit over security concerns, a statement from the organizers said on Sunday.

The group had been planning to attend a congress organized by the Global Entrepreneurship Network from April 15.

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“While we advised the Israeli delegation they would be welcome, they decided this morning not to come due to security concerns and a wish not to cause disruption for the other 180 nations participating,” the organization’s president Jonathan Ortmans said in a statement sent to Reuters.

The cancellation came after the kingdom’s parliament issued a statement rejecting the visit, and some protests against it in the streets of the capital Manama.

Last July, an Israeli delegation of diplomats visited the Gulf state for an international conference organized by UNESCO. Although the two countries do not have full diplomatic ties, relations have been slowly warming.  

Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Khalifa, has noted on several occasions that he opposes the anti-Israel boycott and has also allowed his ministers and other representatives to meet with high-level Israelis including Tzipi Livni and then-President Shimon Peres