Secretary of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer visited on Sunday ahead of a possible trip to Abu Dhabi by the prime minister, Israeli media report.
An Israeli minister has made a secret trip to the United Arab Emirates ahead of a possible visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Gulf state, according to Israeli media.
Ron Dermer, Israel’s strategic affairs minister, traveled to Abu Dhabi on Sunday, where he met senior officials, Israel’s news website Walla reported Monday.
In addition to Dermer, the national security adviser was Tzachi Hanegbi.
It would be the first trip by an Israeli minister to the UAE since the new Israeli government came to power at the end of December.
Netanyahu was expected to visit the UAE shortly after his return to the prime minister, but the entrance of his provocative National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in January led to until the cancellation of the trip to the UAE. according to Israeli media.
The UAE publicly condemned Ben-Gvir’s actions at the time.
During his trip to the UAE, Dermer attempted to allay some of the government’s concerns about Ben-Gvir and other far-right members of the Israeli government, according to reports.
Israel and the UAE normalized ties in 2020 under the United States-brokered Abraham Accords and have since strengthened their relations, including signing a free trade agreement in May.
Dermer was Israel’s ambassador to the US when the accords were signed.
Naftali Bennett, a right-wing politician who succeeded Netanyahu as prime minister in 2021, became the first Israeli leader to pay a state visit to the UAE in December of the same year, before visiting again for talks in June last year.
The UAE is at the center of Israel’s strategy to normalize ties with Arab governments, despite the continued occupation of Palestinian territory and near-daily raids into the occupied West Bank, which have already killed 17 Palestinians this month.