Negev Summit participants
Negev Summit participantsForeign Ministry, GPO

Despite the condemnation in the Arab world of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount, a delegation of senior Israeli officials will depart for Abu Dhabi on Sunday, Kan 11 News reported on Friday.

The Israeli delegation will take part in the first gathering of the working groups established as part of the "Negev Forum" which is made up of Israel, the United States, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Egypt. Jordan was invited to be a member of the forum, but is not expected to participate in it, the report indicated.

The Israeli delegation, according to Kan 11 News, will be headed by the Director General of the Foreign Ministry, Alon Ushpiz, and will be attended by the Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, the head of the Political and Security Division at the Ministry of Defense, and senior officials from the Ministries of Health, Intelligence, Tourism, Energy, Education, Economy, the Water Authority, and the National Security Council.

The working groups are in the fields of health, regional security and intelligence, energy, tourism, education for tolerance and food and water security. The establishment of the working groups was agreed upon at the Negev Summit which was held last March, and which brought to Israel the foreign ministers of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

The next meeting of foreign ministers is expected in March and will be held this time in Morocco. Israel’s new Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is expected to participate.

The United States said in December it plans a second meeting of the Negev Summit early in 2023 as a follow up to the Abraham Accords.

The accords are "near and dear to the heart of Prime Minister Netanyahu and so I imagine that he wants to continue to see that move forward," a US official said on condition of anonymity.

"I think Israel has to factor that in," the official added. "Depending on some of the things that Israel does, that may make it harder or easier for these countries to actually engage and participate and move forward, never mind bringing new countries into the process."

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)