Israel and Bahrain - a timeline to peace

From the legislation against Hezbollah, to meetings at the peace workshop. These are the events which led up to the agreement with Bahrain.

Arutz Sheva ,

Rabbi Schneier with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain
Rabbi Schneier with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain
Foundation For Ethnic Understanding

2013 – 2015

King Hamad led the effort for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to legislate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Following his success in doing so, he told Rabbi Schneier (later appointed as a special advisor to King Hamad in 2018) during a meeting in his palace in Manama in 2016 that “our only hope for a strong moderate Arab voice is a strong Israel.”

2017

After US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, King Hamad sent an interfaith mission from Bahrain to Israel. He was the first to do so from any Gulf state.

2018

Following his majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s invitation that Rabbi Schneier bring a delegation from The Hampton Synagogue to visit the Kingdom, in February, the group flew to the Kingdom and met with government officials and the leadership of the Jewish community. We met with former ambassador of Bahrain to the United States Houda Nonoo, parliament member Nancy Khedouri and community leader Michael Yadgar who shared about the country’s rich history supporting its Jewish community (the only indigenous Jewish community in the Gulf). We visited the synagogue in Manama – the first in the Gulf – and the Jewish cemetery.

In November, Israel’s Economic Minister Eli Cohen was invited by the Bahrain government to participate in a conference on modern technology in Manama.

2019

In April, a delegation from Israel’s Foreign Ministry was invited to participate in a conference on entrepreneurship in Manama.

In June, Bahrain hosted the White House’s Peace to Prosperity Workshop and while that was exciting on its own, perhaps more exciting was the fact that the Bahrain government welcomed seven Israeli journalists for the first time to the Kingdom. Israeli media outlets were given access to participate and cover the conference.

Sitting with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa during the conference, Rabbi Schneier asked him if he would consider giving an interview to one of the Israeli journalists who he had just met with. He immediately said he would and that he should bring him over. During that historic interview with the Times of Israel, he shared: “Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region, historically. So, the Jewish people have a place amongst us.” That same year, Sheikh Khalifa applauded Israel for cleaning out the tunnels in the North, and he also tweeted his support for Australia for recognizing west Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”

In July, Bahrain’s former Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa (he was the FM at the time) met with Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz in Washington DC.

In October, Israeli Foreign Ministry Counterterrorism Director Dana Benvenisti visited Bahrain for a security conference on Iran.

The timeline was prepared by Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and an advisor to many Gulf leaders



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