Bahrain and Israel’s defense ministers held their first publicly acknowledged phone call on Monday.
“It is not an abandonment of the Palestinian cause … it is to strengthen Bahrainis’ security and their economic stability,” minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said in a statement.
“Iran has chosen to behave in a dominating way in several forms and has become a constant danger that harms our internal security,” Khalifa said, adding that it was wise to forestall dangers.
The small Gulf state of Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, is ruled by the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family. The government often accuses Iran, ruled by a Shi’ite Muslim leadership, of seeking to subvert Bahrain.
Bahrain has suffered ongoing unrest since a failed uprising in 2011. It is also striving to bring down its deficit.
Manama was bailed out in 2018 with a $10 billion aid package from wealthy Gulf neighbors to avoid a credit crunch. The International Monetary Fund has said it expects Bahrain’s fiscal deficit to jump to 15.7% of gross domestic product this year from 10.6% in 2019.
Bahrain and Israel’s defense ministers held their first publicly acknowledged phone call on Monday, and another pair of ministers separately discussed commercial possibilities between the two countries.