Rabbi Schneier with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The trickle has turned into a flood. Today, as long-standing barriers to a full breakthrough of mutual recognition are collapsing with astonishing speed, Israel stands on the threshold of an accomplishment few expected to witness in our lifetime – the imminent establishment of diplomatic relations with many of the nations of the Arabian Gulf. I believe that Bahrain – whose King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, I have visited countless times since my first groundbreaking meeting at his palace in the capital city of Manama in 2011 – will be the first to open diplomatic relations with Israel by the end of 2019, to be quickly followed by other key members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In fact, Bahrain had already signaled the direction it was moving in with evident Saudi support last May when Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa made a statement defending the right of Israel to defend itself from Iranian missiles fired in its direction from Syria, tweeting, “Like all other countries, Israel has the right to defend itself against the Iranian aggression.”
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