Gulf State King Surprises by Condemning Anti-Israel Boycott, Urging Citizens to Visit
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa has condemned the Arab world’s boycott of Israel, saying its citizens are free to visit the Jewish state, in a declaration of worldwide religious tolerance facilitated by the Los-Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Although the Persian Gulf nation has no diplomatic relations with Israel, the king’s announcement was unveiled last week at the center’s interfaith event in California.
Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, who head the center, said the Bahraini king issued the declaration during their visit to the country’s capital city of Manama earlier this year.
“The most exciting part of the visit was listening to His Majesty outline his vision for a new Middle East — one solidly based on the principles of inclusion and human dignity that rejects extremism,” Hier said.
“May the day come soon when His Majesty’s plane lands at Ben-Gurion Airport, and when the anthems played here tonight will be heard around the world ushering in that long-awaited era of lasting peace and tranquility,” he added.
At the event, several guests formally signed the Bahrain Declaration, including the king’s son, Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa.
The prince was accompanied by a 40-person delegation that also joined him during a visit to the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance built by the Wiesenthal Center.