The Jews of Bahrain: "I consider myself a Bahraini Jewish Arab - and I am very proud

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Sunni Man, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Sunni Man
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    Sunni Man Diamond Member

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    Visitors to Bahrain are always surprised to learn that Jews and Arabs live, and work, together here; but Bahrainis consider it odd that people think their situation is unusual.

    "I know nowhere but Bahrain. I was born here, and my friends are here. I spend my nights with them, I spend my days with them, and I do my business with them. Religion is not an issue. When my friends come to my house, at prayer time they go to a room in my house and pray. They don't say, "This is a Jewish house, I will not pray in it." This is just an example. People see it as a big deal, but for us, it's not a big deal," says Rouben D. Rouben, 46, sole distributor of Sharp Electronics in the country.

    The Jewish community began to settle in Bahrain in the early 1900s, most of them came from Iraq, Iran and India -- traders who found Bahrain the ideal place to live. "My family moved to Bahrain in 1914. Nothing happened to make us leave Iraq. My grandfather was a trader and when he came here, he just decided he wanted to live here," says Rouben.
    Before the creation of Israel in 1948, 600 Jews lived in Bahrain. But after each Middle East war, some Bahraini Jews would leave the country, most went to the U.S. or England. Today only 30 Jews live in Bahrain, but the Jewish community is on the rise. "My brother has five children, and many of the others that live here all have a couple of children, so we are getting bigger, not smaller," says Rouben, a confirmed bachelor.

    Like their Arab counterparts, the Bahraini Jews feel a lot of problems are due to inaccuracies reported in the media.

    "People think it's strange that there are Jews in Bahrain. For me, I am proud that I am in Bahrain. I don't mind it, but everybody seems shocked that there are Jews in Bahrain. But once they know the local community, the Bahrainis, then they form a different idea. It's because of propaganda and the media, they exaggerate things.

    "I'd tell Americans to please come here; it's a wonderful society," Meir continues. "It's a hundred times nicer than New York; and there are no crimes here. You can walk down the street with billions of dollars in you pocket without anybody questioning you or bothering you. We consider ourselves very fortunate to live in Bahrain."

    "Nobody looks at religion here," says Meir. "There are Bahraini Christians here, and there are 13 churches in Bahrain. There is even a Hindu temple here. It's an open society."

    "When I die, I hope to be buried here," says Meir. "Our Jewish cemetery is very well kept, and it's been here for over one hundred years. It is right next to the Christian cemetery, and the Shi'as cemetery is across the street from us. We live together and we rest in peace together, just the way it should be."

    Jews of Bahrain
     
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  2. High_Gravity
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    High_Gravity Belligerent Drunk Supporting Member

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    This is interesting for me because I have been to Bahrain and I never knew they had Jews there, if its true that Jews are regarded as equal citizens there good on them. I hope they continue this even if the government falls.
     
  3. P F Tinmore
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    P F Tinmore Platinum Member

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    I don't find this at all surprising.
     
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  4. High_Gravity
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    Why?
     
  5. P F Tinmore
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    P F Tinmore Platinum Member

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    Before Israel, Palestinian Muslims and Jews would babysit each other's children. They were business partners.

    Even today many Muslims, Christians and Jews work together for peace in Palestine.

    Jews regularly visit Gaza and they are welcomed by the people and government alike.

    When Lebanon wanted to rebuild a synagogue, Hezbollah voted their approval.


     
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  6. High_Gravity
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    Why should Israel change any of that? I don't see how every Jew should be punished because the Arabs are pissed at Israel.
     
  7. P F Tinmore
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    P F Tinmore Platinum Member

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    Israel has soured the taste for Jews throughout the region.
     
  8. High_Gravity
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    Still no excuse for countries like Iraq, Libya, Kuwait etc to chase their Jews out onto the streets. Iraq was hanging their Jews until they all left to Israel. People they lived with as "brothers" right?
     
  9. P F Tinmore
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    It seems a coincidence that after living in Arab countries for thousands of years, when Israel was created they all decided that they hate Jews.
     
  10. High_Gravity
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    Yes, why is that? were the Jews in Iraq lobbying for Israel to be formed?
     

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