For the first time in the history of the ceremony to commemorate the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, was held in the Palace of the king of Bahrain Hamad bin ISA al-Khalifa. The Hanukkah candles were lit by the Director of the Conference of European rabbis, Moshe Levin, chief Rabbi of the gendarmerie of France.
According to the website Times of Israel, in ceremonies, in addition to the monarch and his entourage, was attended by about 50 of the Jews, also arrived together with the French Imam Hassan Levin Salumi. The Rabbi said the traditional blessing and sang the Hanukkah hymn «Maoz Tzur».
In his speech, the monarch said that the fight against terror requires joint leaders of all denominations. He said that Bahrain has all the conditions for normal life of the Jewish community, and Jews can without fear follow the commandments of their religion.
However, the former head of the diplomatic mission of Bahrain to the U.S. Houda Ezra Ibrahim Nona, belonging to the Jewish community, said that since 1948 in the local synagogues was forbidden to light Chanukah lights.
After the gala dinner, which was attended by the Ministers of justice and internal Affairs, Rabbi Levin said that the monarch truly loves his Jewish subjects and takes care of them.
Bahrain is the only Arab country in the Persian Gulf, where there is an active synagogue. The size of the Jewish community of the Kingdom does not exceed 50 people. In 2004, under U.S. pressure, cancelled a boycott of Israeli products.
The current situation stands in stark contrast to the mid-20th century. After the proclamation of the state of Israel and the defeat of the Arab States in the six day war in Bahrain were Jewish pogroms. As a result having many centuries the Jewish community in the country has dropped from thousands to a few dozen people.