Israeli Diplomat Talks with Indonesian Defense Minister

Indonesia’s Minister of Defense, Prabowo Subianto. (Government of Indonesia)

In a rare encounter, an Israeli diplomat held a conversation with a senior official from Indonesia, at the sidelines of Bahrain’s annual Manama Dialogue conference, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday.

The unofficial meeting took place between Israel’s chargé d’affaires in Bahrain Itay Tagner and Indonesia’s defense minister Prabowo Subianto.

Since the two countries that do not have formal diplomatic ties, the public interaction attracted notice.

No details were immediately available about the content of their discussion.

Earlier this year, the Times quoted Trump administration officials as saying that Indonesia and Mauritania had been lined up to be the next Muslim countries to normalize relations with Israel. But they were not able to concretize those plans before the 2020 election.

Indonesia’s president downplayed the report at the time, telling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that his country would not normalize ties with Israel until a Palestinian state had been established.

Meanwhile, at the three-day Manama Dialogue, Israel’s National Security Council chairman Eyal Hulata met with his Bahraini counterpart, the Gulf country’s foreign minister, as well as Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, according to the Walla news site.

The conference is held annually to discuss the ongoing security challenges of the Middle East, and draws over 300 senior government officials from 40 countries.