In Bahrain Jews allowed to celebrate Hanukkah – The controversial party was locally and regionally criticized

In Bahrain, Arabs and Jews Gather at a Hanukkah Celebration
In Bahrain, Arabs and Jews Gather at a Hanukkah Celebration

A party to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah has been held in the Muslim kingdom of Bahrain. The Hanukkah party was attended on Saturday night by local and visiting members of the Jewish community as well as Muslim Bahrainis. The event was organized by American Jewish millionaire Lazer Scheiner.

Video of the celebration, which included a Jewish delegation giving a large silver menorah to Arab dignitaries and members of both groups dancing together to Hasidic music has emerged on social media, quickly gaining popularity.


The same news was mentioned by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, reported that Bahraini officials hosted the Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony on Saturday, the first night of the eight-day holiday, and that it was attended by members of the country’s small Jewish population, foreign businessmen and “other local Bahrainis.”

In a statement, Hamas criticized the celebration, “In light of the increasing pace of international sympathy for the Palestinian cause and support for the rights of the Palestinian people, and the growing international boycott of the Zionist entity movements in all forms, that a group of dignitaries and traders in the State of Bahrain hosted a Jewish, Zionist, racist, extremist delegation and danced with them is a humiliating and disgraceful display,” Hamas officials said in a statement, “Hamas calls on Bahrain to fully stop any form of normalization with the Zionist enemy.”

Hamas’ condemnation of the video, comes just days after it welcomed the passing of a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel has condemned the members of the UN Security Council who voted in favor of the resolution and the United States, which abstained.

In 2015, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain invited European Jewish leaders to conduct a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony in the capital, Manama, the first such ritual performed in the country since 1948, according to the Conference of European Rabbis.

Last year, during the Hanukkah ceremony, the king of Bahrain said that “the call to war against terror needs to come from the leaders of all the religions as one. Here in Bahrain members of all the religions live with no fear.”

“We will continue to allow Jews to live peacefully and quietly, maintaining their lifestyle, their customs and the commandments of their religion,” he said.