Slightly less than a month after the United Arab Emirates announced that they would normalise ties with Israel, there was another dramatic announcement, this time coming out of neighbouring Bahrain.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump announced that Bahrain had followed in the footsteps of the UAE and given a green light for the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel, with reports suggesting that Bahraini monarch Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa is expected to attend a ceremony at the White House slated for next Monday and will sign a peace pact with the Jewish state.
Hub of Tolerance
For Rabbi Marc Schneier, who has been advising the Bahraini king for more than a decade now, that decision was a natural move.
Over the years, Bahrain, which has a tiny Jewish community numbering less than a hundred people, has been regionally known as a hub of tolerance and as a country that had eyed ties with israel as a definite possibility.
It was Bahrain that led other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to designate Hezbollah, a bitter enemy of Israel, as a terror organisation in 2016; it was Bahrain that convinced the Arab League to follow suit and it was Manama that hosted the Peace to Prosperity summit that aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and paving the way for the establishment of full diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
National Interests Prevail
But now Bahraini tolerance has also met pragmatism and a series of national interests.