'Dream of coming to a Gulf country became a reality'

Rabbi Marc Schneier, Special Advisor to King of Bahrain, says economic conference brought Israelis, Arabs together to bolster PA economy.

Yoni Kempinski,

Rabbi Marc Schneier in Bahrain
Rabbi Marc Schneier in Bahrain
Foundation for Ethnic Understanding

Rabbi Marc Schneier, the Special Advisor to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the US-led economic conference currently taking place in Bahrain.

"I'm very excited and honored to be here" at the conference, Rabbi Scheier said. "I think that there was a very intense focus on how to improve the economic situation of the Palestinians, to address their economic plights, to give them economic opportunities, economic security, economic prosperity."

"It's a very significant financial plan, in terms of investing $50 billion into the Palestinian economy, very significant in terms of creating one million jobs for the Palestinian people," he added.

Rabbi Scheier said that he was encouraged by the support he heard from Arab leaders for the efforts to bolster the Palestinian Authority's economy.

"What was so refreshing was the number of Arab business leaders that also expressed the same commitments and wanted to be active participants and active partners in terms of building the Palestinian economy," he said.

When asked if the Trump Administration was seeking to bypass the PA leadership and present its economic plan directly to the people in the face of PA opposition to the plan, Rabbi Scheier said that he was "hopeful that the Palestinian leadership, once they are able to review the plan and once they see some concrete economic initiatives, will begin to embrace these opportunities."

"It's all about building a better life for the Palestinian people. The Palestinian leadership needs to have that foundation of trust that the Gulf states have their back - which they do. The Gulf states are committed to also seeing a political resolution to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

"It's an ongoing process, but you have a very energetic, distinguished group of Arab Gulf leaders, officials, and global financial leaders coming together, ready, willing, and able to invest in the Palestinian economy," he said.

Rabbi Scheier noted how unusual it was for so many Israeli journalists to attend an international conference in an Arab country.

"I think the Israeli reporters were like a kid in a candy store. They were so excited. They couldn't even believe that the dream of one day coming to a Gulf country had become a reality. They were treated magnificently and beautifully by the King of Bahrain. So I think they were excited.

"The Israeli businessmen that were here were deeply engaged with Arab business leaders in trying to find economic and business opportunities to bring to the Palestinians as well. I would say that minimally, it was a very cordial engagement. Maximally, it was a success."