In a historic moment, representatives from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain met at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to partake in a Hanukkah menorah lighting Monday, signifying a continued effort to strengthen relations between Israel and Arab nations.
“It is a Hanukkah miracle to see the delegation from the UAE and Bahrain here with us participating in the Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony. Who would have believed that peace would come to our house in such a magnificent way?” said the Western Wall’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch.
The UAE and Bahrain representatives are part of the Sharka Project, or the “Cooperation Project,” which is an effort by Israeli, Emirati, and Bahraini social activists and opinion leaders to normalize friendly relations between Israelis and Arabs, particularly among the younger generation, he said.
On Sunday, the delegation met at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s home in Jerusalem.
“Peace is made between people and nations, and this delegation’s visit to Jerusalem today is another step towards our good and warm relations,” tweeted President Rivlin.
Mashaal a-Shamri, a Bahraini woman expressed the significance of this meeting, saying “As a Bahraini woman visiting Israel, it is a great honor for me to meet the president. We see Israel as a place of peace, success and coexistence.”
“This lighting unites all the people of Israel. Take a good look at the flames, despite all its shades and colors – it is one. One that rises and illuminates and lights up spontaneously. We the people of Israel are made up of tribes and different communities, and that is our strength,” said Rabbi Amar.
The historic meeting comes after Morocco became the fourth Arab country to agree to normalizing relations with Israel through President Trump’s Abraham Accords.
President Rivlin expressed hope that Israel will soon establish warming ties with Saudi Arabia as well, tweeting “Peace between Israel and Bahrain is already a model for other countries in our region. I hope to welcome His Majesty to Jerusalem, the city of peace and God, soon.”