The Times of Israel has the back story to the December 2017 multifaith visit to Israel of a delegation from Bahrain. The initiative has the blessing of the Bahraini royal family, and is one of many undertaken in recent years to project an image of religious tolerance. A cathedral is being built on the island, which has a US naval base. About 30 Jews still live there.
Members of the Bahrain delegation to Israel
In a strikingly rare instance of a visit to Israel by representatives
from an Arab country without diplomatic relations, a delegation of
religious figures from the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain traveled to the
Jewish state last month “to send a message of peace” from King Hamad bin
Isa Al Khalifa.
message is peaceful coexistence with no government involvement,” said
Betsy Mathieson, president of the Bahrain-based nongovernmental
organization “This is Bahrain,” who led the delegation.
The 24 participants — Sunni and Shiite Muslims, as well as Buddhists,
Christians, Hindus and Sikhs — were invited to the country as guests of
the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a US-based Jewish human rights group.
Representing the first publicly known delegation to visit Israel from
the Persian Gulf kingdom, many saw the trip as a sign of potential
warming ties between the two countries.