A senior rabbi in Bahrain and members of their Jewish faith have welcomed an “historic” visit by Israel’s top diplomat Yair Lapid, a year after the US-brokered normalization of ties.
The Jewish community of Bahrain, the only indigenous Jewish community in the GCC, welcomed the minister during his visit to the Kingdom on Thursday, during which he opened the Jewish state’s embassy in Bahrain.
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Members of the Jewish community met with the minister during his visit and participated in the ceremony where a new mezuzah gifted by the community was placed on Israel’s embassy in the Bahrain.
“Today was historic for both Bahrain and Israel and an important moment for our Jewish community,” said Ebrahim D. Nonoo, president of the Jewish Community of Bahrain. “We had the opportunity to speak with the Foreign Minister and hear from him about the significance of the Bahrain-Israel relationship and we shared some of the recent milestones and developments in our community.”
“Being present as the new mezuzah was affixed to the entryway of the Embassy was very meaningful. The Embassy represents an address for Bahrain-Israel business, cultural and social activities to flow through.”
Dating back to the 1880s, the Bahrain Jewish community is the only indigenous Jewish community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and has the only operational synagogue (House of Ten Commandments) and Jewish cemetery in the region.
The minister’s visit was the highest-level Israeli visit to the Gulf state since the countries established formal relations last year.
Lapid landed at Bahrain’s international airport in an Israir plane with an olive branch painted on its nose and held talks with his Bahraini counterpart.
Bahrain and Gulf neighbor United Arab Emirates normalized relations with Israel last year in a US-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords that built on shared business interests and worries about Iran. Sudan and Morocco followed suit.