Israel' Yair Lapid Visits UAE in High Profile Event After Normalization of Ties

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Israel's new foreign minister Yair Lapid arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday, becoming the first ever Israeli minister in history to officially visit the Gulf Arab emirate.

Lapid, the central pillar of the newly installed government in Israel led by Naftali Bennett, is visiting the UAE to inaugurate Israel's embassy in Abu Dhabi and consulate in Dubai.

This is the most high profile event since the normalization of relations between the two countries in August last year.

Israel Knesset building
Israel Knesset building Wikimedia Commons / Beny Shlevich

Lapid, who played a key role in ousting long-serving prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month, will also hold wide-ranging discussions with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The two will discuss bilateral issues pertaining to including economic cooperation, trade and security during the 2-day meetings.

Political observers say the visit of Lapid is of historic importance, coming a year after Israel normalised relations with the UAE and Bahrain, with former prime minister taking the initiative in signing the Abraham Accords.

The visit "turns the Emirati relationship into an institutional policy of the Israeli state, rather than a party policy," said Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, a scholar with the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. He told Al Jazeera that the visit shows the high priority the new Israeli government places on its Gulf partners.

Though Israel and the UAE differ on issues such as the Palestine question, the two nations could forge partnerships fields of economy, investment and security.

Though the gulf Arab Emirate criticised Israel over the conflict with the Palestinians around the holy Al Aqsa mosque, UAE did not openly challenge Tel Aviv when it launched an offensive against the Hamas last month.

According to Al Jazeera, one of the The biggest deals the two countries could sign is the one in which Abu Dhabi's state-owned investment acquiring a $1.1bn stake in Israel's Tamar gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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