Naftali Bennett becomes first Israeli prime minister to visit the United Arab Emirates

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(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince and leader of the United Arab Emirates Monday, marking the first time an Israeli prime minister has visited the country over a year after the countries signed the Abraham Accords and began diplomatic relations.

The trip was announced by Bennett’s office just a few hours before he flew to the Gulf country Sunday. Bennett was greeted upon his arrival by the UAE’s Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed and stayed overnight before meeting with the Crown Prince at his Abu Dhabi palace Monday.

The two leaders were expected to discuss shared interests around Iran and economic cooperation among other issues. The visit comes as both Israel and the Emirates have expressed concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

According to WAM, a state news agency in the UAE, Bennet said Israelis and Emiratis were “neighbours and cousins” and “the grandchildren of Prophet Abraham.”

“The relations between the two countries have strengthened in all fields, and I am very satisfied with that, as many cooperation agreements were concluded in the fields of trade, research and development, and cyber security, health, education, aviation and more, and I look forward to the continued development and consolidation of relations,” Bennett told WAM.

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