Highest Jewish population: c. 600 in 1940s
The earliest references to a Jewish community in Bahrain are dated to 500CE and there was a continual Jewish presence throughout the Middle Ages. The modern Jewish community of Bahrain was established in the 1880s, when Jewish tradesmen from Iraq settled in Manama, the island’s capital city. The Jewish community lived without major incident until 1947.
In 1947 an antisemitic riot resulted in the death of one Jew. In 1948, following the creation of the State of Israel, larger riots broke out and the synagogue was burned down. As a result of this, at least two thirds of the Jewish population left Bahrain and moved to Israel. In 1967, during the Six Day War, further riots meant that most of the remaining Jews left the country.
Today there is a small but active Jewish community in Bahrain. They live peacefully as equal citizens and several Jewish community members have served in the Bahraini government. In September 2020, the Kingdom of Bahrain normalised relations with the State of Israel.