Bahrain

There is evidence for a Jewish presence in Bahrain dating back to the Middle Ages. However, the modern Jewish community of Bahrain originated in the 19th Century when Iraqi Jewish tradesmen settled on the island. The community lived relatively peacefully with their Muslim neighbours until 1947. 

In 1947, following the declaration of the State of Israel, large antisemitic riots erupted on the island and the only synagogue of Bahrain was burned down. Many of the 1500 Jews living on the island decided to leave the country and travelled to the United States or England. By 1967 there were only 200 Jews living in Bahrain. The majority of these left following further antisemitic riots sparked by the Six-Day War.  

Today there are less than 50 Jews living in Bahrain. They share a close relationship with their Muslim neighbours, have equal rights to the general population and several Jewish citizens have served in government. Despite having no functioning synagogue, they are free to practice Judaism. Since 2017 Jewish citizens of Bahrain have been able to travel to Israel with their Bahraini passports. 

Interviewees

SVUK is grateful for the support of The Exilarch's Foundation, The KC Shasha Charitable Foundation & The Shoresh Charitable Trust

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