Israel, Bahrain discuss Netanyahu visit, vaccine factory

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that he has accepted an invitation by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to visit the Gulf state.

The prime minister’s office issued a statement saying the two leaders agreed that Netanyahu will travel to Bahrain “as soon as possible,” once Covid-19 restrictions would allow it.

Bahrain was also looking into a possible investment in a planned Covid-19 vaccine factory that is expected to be built in Israel, according to the statement.

“The crown prince noted he is interested in examining a possibility of Bahrain joining an investment in a vaccine manufacturing plant that is planned to be established in Israel together with other countries,” the statement read.

Netanyahu announced earlier in February that he postponed his first official visits to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to Israel’s coronavirus lockdown. Some of the lockdown’s restrictions have been lifted but a ban on outgoing and incoming flights is still in effect, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Israel has signed the US-brokered agreements to normalize ties with the UAE and Bahrain in 2020.