Something amazing happened in Bahrain last week. The country’s tiny Jewish community observed Holocaust Remembrance Day for the first time in a virtual ceremony with representatives from the Muslim government.
According to House of Ten Commandments (the oldest continuously operating synagogue in the Gulf), the local group that organized the event, the ceremony was held at the community synagogue, which was “recently renovated at the king’s initiative.”
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Ambassador Houda Nonoo is from a Bahraini Jewish family of which there few remain in the Kingdom. He was the kingdom’s ambassador to the United States during the Trump administration and was key to launching the special event.
The guest of honor was Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and former Foreign Ministry director-general. He met with Nonoo during his visit to Bahrain in December.
In a statement, the organization revealed that the end of the ceremony included prayer and candles were lit “in memory of the victims as part of the Yellow Candle project #Yellocandle.”
Before the virtual event earlier in the week, the planned commemoration events were announced as a sign of the warming relations between Israel and the Gulf states.
Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the Trump administration-led Abraham Accords last year, paving the way for normalization and already credited with improving Arab-Jewish relations in the region. A historic number of similar agreements were forged between Israel and other regional Arab states by Trump.
Also taking place in Bahrain last week was participation in the Yellow Candle project – the global communal effort to remember victims of the Holocaust. During the ceremony members from each community light a yellow candle in memory of the name of Jews who perished during the Holocaust.
The Yellow Candle Project includes a website that allows visitors to explore “age-appropriate themes within Holocaust education.”
– JNS – This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.