The Jews of Bahrain:

A Resilient Community in the Persian Gulf

Sunday,  August 21

USA 10:30 am PT / 1:30 pm ET

UK 6:30 pm / France 7:30 pm / Israel 8:30 pm

The talk will last approximately 90 minutes

About this talk

The Kingdom of Bahrain, identified in biblical times as the place of the Garden of Eden, has one of the smallest Jewish communities in the world. But this resilient collective can claim to be the only indigenous Jews left in the Persian Gulf.

A trading post between Europe and India from the 1890s to the 1950s, under British protectorate, many Iraqi Jews relocated to Bahrain, forming the core of the modern community.

While interfaith relations have usually been good between the Muslim majority and every other religious group, many Jews left the country following the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars after suffering attacks or for fear of them. Those who stayed were well integrated in the society but kept a low profile and worshiped only in private.

Since the signature of the Abraham accords establishing diplomatic relations between Bahrain and Israel, a new era has begun. The Jewish community feels comfortable worshiping in public after many decades, and those who left for Israel can visit their homeland freely. Israeli tourists come in droves and learn about the hospitality of the locals, and all these exchanges create an atmosphere of coexistence absolutely exceptional in the Middle East.

About Ebrahim

Ebrahim Nonoo is a Bahraini businessman whose family originally moved from Basra, Iraq, to Bahrain over a century ago along with hundreds of Iraqi Jews looking for better economic opportunities.

He sat in the appointed upper house of the Bahraini Parliament's Shura Council between 2001 and 2006 and is the first Jewish member of the council. He is the current CEO of the Basma Company and chairman of the board of trustees of the House of the Ten Commandments.

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