OREANDA-NEWS. Naftali Bennett became the first head of the Israeli government to make an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Bennett arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening, December 12, an official representative of the Israeli Cabinet of Ministers said. On the same day, he met with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. According to the Israeli Prime Minister's office, Bennett's talks with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, are scheduled for Monday.

As Bennett stated before leaving for Abu Dhabi, the purpose of his trip is to «deepen cooperation between the two countries in all spheres». He described relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as «excellent». According to the Israeli prime minister, he «intends to continue to develop and strengthen them» and «build peace between peoples».

Last year, the Emirates violated the political agreement concluded decades ago between the Arab states and normalized relations with Israel. Until that time, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab countries that had diplomatic relations with Israel.

After Israel and the UAE signed an agreement on normalization of relations in September 2020, direct air communication was established between the two countries and, among other things, several cooperation agreements were signed. Then, in June 2021, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid inaugurated the new Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi. And in July, the UAE opened an embassy in Tel Aviv.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries took place through the mediation of then US President Donald Trump. At Trump's insistence, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan also agreed to normalize their relations with Israel last year.