RARE HARMONY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
[Note by Tom Gross]
As I have reported before, the royal family of Bahrain stand out among other Gulf leaders for their outwardly friendly attitudes towards Jews and Judaism.
This year, for the first time in four decades, Hannukah and Christmas coincide. And on Saturday evening the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, hosted a menorah (candle-lighting) ceremony. It was the second year in a row that he hosted a Hannukah event, but this year orthodox Jews and traditionally dressed Gulf Muslims danced joyfully together to Jewish songs. Many of the Jews were guests from France but local Bahraini Jews also joined the celebrations at the invitation of the king.
You can watch a video here:
Only four dozen Jews remain in Bahrain, which has a population of almost 1.5 million. 1,500 Jews lived in Bahrain until 1948 when, like Jews throughout the Arab world, most fled or left.
One of remaining Jews, Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, is a female lawyer and former MP who became the first Jew and the first woman to serve as Bahraini Ambassador to the U.S., from 2008-2010. She is a subscriber to this email list.
I wrote about her here:
See also last year’s dispatch on Bahrain:
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