Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 19:26 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 19:26 | SYDNEY

The Jews of Bahrain


Rodger Shanahan


28 May 2008 17:16

While in Bahrain on a research visit, it has been interesting to learn of the small island kingdom’s attitude to its tiny Jewish community. The community of perhaps 30-50 people is prominent in commerce on the island, have their own cemetery, and two people in the appointed 40 member upper chamber of parliament. There are also reports that the new Bahraini ambassador to the US will be a prominent Bahraini Jewish woman, Huda Azar Nunu. And today’s local newspaper included a story about attempts by the Bahraini Government to bolster the number of Jews in the kingdom by encouraging the return of those with roots in Bahrain who left as a result of the Arab-Israeli wars. 

While all this is certainly laudable in terms of Bahrain's treatment of minority religious groups, the real political tensions in Bahrain do not involve minorities but rather the aspirations of its majority Shi’a population, who remain politically subordinate to the Sunni minority.