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Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi to be One of its Largest in the World

Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi to be One of its Largest in the World

Saturday, 12 December, 2020 - 08:00
The national flags of Israel and the United Arab Emirates along a highway in Netanya, Israel. Reuters file photo

The embassy that Israel will establish in Abu Dhabi will be one of its largest in the world, according to diplomatic sources in Tel Aviv.

The sources noted that the embassy may even be as large as the missions in Washington, London and Moscow, which shows the importance of relations with UAE, considered by Tel Aviv as a diplomatic hub for the entire region.

The head of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, visited the UAE last week to examine the level of security measures for the inauguration of the Israeli embassy, said the sources.

Argaman met with senior security officials in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to coordinate such measures, provide maximum protection for Israeli diplomats and tourists against potential threats from Iran and its agents, and secure flights between the UAE and Israel.

The sources said that Argaman also visited Manama for the same purpose and that security leaders in Bahrain and UAE agree with Israel in assessing security risks.

They added that the Shin Bet has concerns about securing the flights that the main Israeli airlines, namely El Al, Israir, and Arkia, will make to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Manama.

Shin Bet is responsible for the security of the diplomatic missions and sets the measures that guarantee the safety of airplanes and passengers.

Israel will have two security offices in Abu Dhabi and Manama to follow up on security measures, said the sources, pointing out that officers will interrogate those wishing to visit Israel and check all bags and luggage.

The security officers, who are currently in Dubai, have been recruited from Tel Aviv and the consulate in Bombay, India.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday confirming that it is finalizing the procedures to establish a temporary mission in Manama, and two missions in the UAE, including a temporary embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to appoint MP Avi Dichter, the former head of the Shin Bet, as ambassador to Abu Dhabi. However, Security Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi are requesting the appointment of a non-partisan figure.

Senior intelligence officer referred to as "Maoz" is another candidate for heading the mission. He is close to the head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat, and for over 20 years, played a major role in establishing relations with Arab countries.

The sources stated that the disagreement between Netanyahu and Gantz is hindering the establishment of official diplomatic exchange.

On Friday, the Shin Bet revealed that 20 of its female and male operatives have been working in UAE and Bahrain for 20 years under pseudonyms, some of whom worked as businessmen or academic researchers.

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