Bahrain’s Foreign Minister gave an unprecedented interview to an Israeli television channel, calling for open communication with the Jewish state.
World Israel News Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, spoke to Israel’s Channel 13 on the sidelines of the Trump administration’s Mideast peace conference in Manama, Bahrain. Al Khalifa said that “Israel is part of this heritage of this whole region, historically. So, the Jewish people have a place amongst us.”
The Bahraini foreign minister also voiced support for Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in neighboring Syria, saying “every country has a right to defend itself.” (The enemy of my enemy is my friend…at least for now) He called Iran a “major threat to the stability and the security of the region,” and said Iran’s support for terror groups has hindered Arab-Israeli peace efforts.
Apparently, this warming of relations between Bahrain and Israel began in 2017.
Even more surprising, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa who rules the small Muslim monarchy, hosted a menorah candle-lighting ceremony to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, which featured kaffiyeh-wearing sheikhs dancing with Orthodox Jews to music.
Bahrain, a group of islands in Persian gulf with a population of 1.4 million, is the only Arab gulf state that has a synagogue. The country had a Jewish population of some 1,500 Jews in 1948. However, after the declaration of the State of Israel many left, and almost all those who remained followed suit after 1967’s Six Day War. Today there are less than 50 Jews in the country.
The kingdom is also unique in that its ambassador to the US from 2008-2010 was Houda Nonoo, a Jewish woman who had formerly served in the nation’s parliament.
But that’s not all: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah has reportedly criticized the Arab boycott of Israel, saying that the Bahrainis are free to visit Israel.