Jewish communities on the Arabian Peninsula will host a series of events marking Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday in a further sign of the warming ties between Gulf states and their Jewish populations.
On Thursday, the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities will host a webinar discussing the Holocaust moderated by Emily Judd from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, which will involve both Muslims and Jews.
The webinar will feature two young Muslims, Fetama al Harbi from Bahrain and Thoufeek Zakriya from the United Arab Emirates, who will discuss their experiences during their recent visit to Yad Vashem.
They will also be joined by members of the Jewish community in the Gulf and will discuss how Muslims and Jews can cooperate in the region.In addition, the Jewish community of Bahrain, known as the House of the Ten Commandments, and the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE) will each hold their own separate Holocaust Remembrance Day events.
The Jewish communities of Bahrain and Dubai will also be participating in the Yellow Candle Project, the global communal effort to remember Holocaust victims, whereby members from each community will light a yellow candle in memory of the name of Jews who perished in the Nazi genocide.
Both communities will light their candles on Wednesday evening.
The JCE will also be hosting a Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration in partnership with the Crossroads of Civilization Museum on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. that will feature the stories of Arab “Upstanders” who stood up against the Nazis, including Dr. Mohamed Helmy, King Mohammed V of Morocco and Imams in Algeria.
Former Bahraini ambassador to the US Houda Nonoo lauded coexistence between Jews and Muslims in the Gulf.
“As antisemitism continues to rise in the West, we are thankful that it has not reared its ugly head here in the Gulf,” said Nonoo.
In Bahrain, coexistence has always been an integral part of our country’s fabric of society.”
“It is truly remarkable that we can celebrate Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) so openly this year in the Gulf – both as the broader Jewish community of the Gulf and in our individual communities,” said Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, the rabbi of the AGJC and the senior rabbi of the JCE.
Ebrahim Daoud Nonoo, president of the AGJC and The House of the Ten Commandments, said that Holocaust Remembrance Day was “both a day to commemorate the travesties which took place during the Holocaust as well as to look toward the future and build a better world for the next generation so that it does not happen again.”
Nonoo continued saying that the Jewish communities in the Gulf “are blessed not to experience antisemitism” and praised relations with the Muslim majority.
“This is due to our close relationships with our Muslim neighbors as we look out for one another. Therefore, it was important for us to also include a component of our program focused on how Muslims and Jews can build a new – and better – Middle East with a united front.”