Tag: Israel/ Gulf

Jews must be ‘ loyal to Arab countries, not Israel’

Bahrain had its first Jewish wedding for over 50 years last month, when the son of Huda Noono, former Jewish Bahraini ambassador to the US, got married, before honeymooning in the UAE. It’s a reason for the Egyptian journalist Suleiman Gouda (via MEMRI) to hail Jews occupying high office in Arab countries as a sign of pluralism. Disappointingly, however,  he falls back on the old distinction between Jews and Zionists, which the Abraham Accords are meant to erase. (With thanks: Lily)

Huda Noonoo’s son married in October 2021 in the first Jewish wedding for 52 years

In an article in the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Egyptian journalist Suleiman Gouda writes with nostalgia about the Jewish presence that once existed in the Arab countries. Noting that Bahrain recently saw its first Jewish wedding in 52 years, he uses this as an opportunity to express his views on Jews from Arab countries, on normalization with Israel and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mentioning that this wedding was momentous not only because it was the first Jewish wedding in Bahrain in over a century, but also because the groom was the son of Houda Noono, Bahrain’s former ambassador in Washington, he states that Jews in high-ranking positions used to be a fairly common phenomenon in Arab countries. This is perfectly natural, he says, because Jews are citizens of these countries, no different from other citizens.

According to Gouda, the reversal in the attitude towards the Jews in Arab countries was caused by Israel’s policy, and that today there is confusion between a Jew, namely a follower of the monotheistic religion of Judaism, and an Israeli Jew, who espouses a political ideology that harms the rights of the Palestinian people. Stating that the true homeland of the Arab Jews is not Israel but rather the Arab countries in which they were born and raised, he contends that social pluralism is a source of strength and not a source of weakness.

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First Bahraini ambassador arrives in Israel

The Abraham Accords between Bahrain and Israel have culminated in the arrival in Israel of Bahrain’s first ambassador. The kingdom, which is coveted by Iran, is ruled by a Sunni elite governing a majority-Shi’a population. The Jerusalem Post reports:
The new Bahraini ambassador to Israel meets Foreign Ministry officials
Bahraini Ambassador Khaled Al Jalahma landed in Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday to take up his new post, in what his Foreign Ministry described as another “milestone” in deepening the ties between the two countries.
“A historic journey in the making accompanied by my wife. We are both very excited!” Jalahma tweeted. He posted photographs of their descent from the airplane to the tarmac.
“The opportunity to fulfill His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s vision of peaceful coexistence with all nations is a privilege that I will hold in high regard,” Jalahma tweeted.

Cairo Book Fair still purveying Antisemitism

The good news is that the Gulf States, bound by the Abraham Accords,are not pumping out antisemitism at their book fairs. The bad news is that Egypt, despite its Peace Accord with Israel, still displays  ‘hate literature’ at this year’s Cairo Book Fair. Article by Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the Jerusalem Post:

An Arabic edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Ziyon

The Simon Wiesenthal Center annually monitors the shelves of seven Arab Book Fairs for incitement to hatred and violence. We send our findings to the Frankfurt Book Fair, where measures are taken to ban the listed offenders. COVID-19 closed down some of the Arab fairs, but until last year, Abu Dhabi was among the offenders. This May, in the spirit of the Abraham Accords, that book fair was totally clean. This was not the case of Egypt, however, where the ongoing fair hosts 1,218 publishers in 756 stands representing 25 countries, led by Spain, whose ambassador recently waxed lyrical regarding Hispano-Arab literature.

At the same time, Egyptian author Mansour Abdel Hakim was signing at the Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi (House of the Arab Book) stand, the fourth volume in his series The Great Secrets of Freemasonry – The World Hidden Government (in English and in Arabic). This demeaning book takes you through various conspiracy theories and the beliefs they promote, including one that says Jews divided the world into two parts: masters and slaves.

Each year in Frankfurt we present The Worst Offender Award. In 2019, it went to Iran for its books for four-to-seven year old children extolling “shehada,” suicide martyrdom. The runner-up award went to Egypt for a plethora of questionable editions.

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Antisemitism plagues the Cairo Book Fair

Gulf-Israel partnership founded to build social bonds

With thanks: Henry

 One of the most promising initatives to come out of the Abraham Accords has been the founding of Sharaka, the Gulf-Israel Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

Sharaka is Arabic for ‘partnership’. Their self-declared mission is ‘to build bonds between young Israeli and Gulf leaders in order to strengthen peace, trust and cooperation between our societies’. 

The Israelis in the Sharaka team include members with roots in Arab countries, such as Amit Deri, Ben-Dror Yemini and Ofir Ohayon. In December Sharaka organised a group visit of young Arabs to Israel.

This video  shows members of the delegation wiping away tears while being shown around the Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem.



Majid Al-Sarrah from the UAE encouraged all people to “see the reality of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem and promised, “We will spread the knowledge about the Holocaust. We will raise peace and love, say never again to anti-Semitism, hate and discrimination. We are brothers and sisters. We will stand together, and together, we will build a world free of anti-Semitism and hate.” 

 Mashael Al-Shemeri from Bahrain said, “I would like to say to all Jews and the people of Israel: You are not alone anymore.”

Najat Al-Saeed from Saudi Arabia added, “We must educate young generations about the full horrors of the Holocaust, including by ensuring that the Holocaust is taught in schools in the Abraham Accords countries and that special envoys are appointed for preserving Holocaust remembrance.”

Shoah survivor tells her story to Arab audience 


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