On Sunday 30 January 2022, Israeli President Isaac Herzog arrived in Abu Dhabi for the first official visit by an Israeli president since the signing of the normalisation agreement between the two countries in 2020.
He was received by the UAE foreign minister.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s “Israel in Arabic” Twitter page wrote: “State President Isaac Herzog and his wife arrived in Abu Dhabi some time ago on an official visit to the UAE.”
It also said that he was received by the Israeli president, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, and Herzog expressed “happiness for the warm welcome“.
While Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s office said earlier on Sunday that he was in the UAE for a visit, the first of its kind, in an effort to strengthen relations with the Gulf region at a time of rising tensions in the region as world powers try to revive the nuclear deal with Iran.
Herzog said: “I will meet with the UAE leadership at the personal invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed,” Abu Dhabi’s crown prince. He added: “I am grateful for his courage and bold leadership in reaching a peace agreement with Israel” and sending a message to the whole region that peace is the only alternative for the peoples of the region.
It should be noted that the presidency in Israel is a largely ceremonial position. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the United Arab Emirates in December last year. In 2020, the UAE and Bahrain signed US-mediated normalisation agreements with Israel at the White House, dubbed the ‘Ibrahim Accords’. The two Gulf states and Israel share common concerns about Iran and its allied forces in the region.
According to a message issued by the Israeli leader on Tuesday 25 January, on 18 January Israel offered security and intelligence support to the UAE in the face of drone attacks, following the bloody attack by the Yemeni Houthi group.