Masks will not be mandatory at White House ceremony

Senior US official: The ceremony will take place on an open lawn and we will maintain as much distance as possible.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Netanyahu and Ambassador Ron Dermer
Netanyahu and Ambassador Ron Dermer
Avi Ohayon/GPO

A senior US official told Israeli reporters on Monday that at the start of the ceremony at the White House on Tuesday, an identical agreement would first be signed between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates ("Abraham Accords") and then separate agreements between the countries will be signed.

On the coronavirus arrangements at the ceremony, the official said the White House would "encourage" the wearing of masks tomorrow but would not require that they be worn.

"Israelis and Emiratis will wear masks," the senior official said. "The ceremony will take place on an open lawn and we will maintain as much social distance as possible."

Regarding the F-35 deal between the UAE and the United States, the senior official said that the administration's position on the issue was still being discussed, but that Israel's security and Israel's qualitative advantage in the Middle East would be taken into account.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke upon his arrival in Washington and said, "I hold in my hand the historic draft peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and the historic declaration of peace between Israel and Bahrain. We have worked on this for very many years. This moment arrives tomorrow.”

“This is a great turning point in the history of Israel and in the history of the Middle East. It will have a great and positive effect on every citizen of Israel. I also promise you, according to what I see here, that additional countries are on the way,” he added.

“Even as I am engaged in this important diplomatic work, I do not forget for a moment that these are difficult days for us all, I managed to speak today with both the Finance Minister and the Health Minister, and tomorrow evening as I return to Israel, we will continue to work together for you, citizens of Israel, so that we might overcome the coronavirus and also bring peace."