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Bahrain hosts Hanukkah menorah lighting ceremony Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Bahrain hosts Hanukkah menorah lighting ceremony

The video showed showed Bahraini men attending the party with Orthodox Jews [Youtube]

Date of publication: 27 December, 2016

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A video showing Bahraini men dancing with Orthodox Jews over a ceremony marking the Hanukkah holiday circulated on social media.
The kingdom of Bahrain hosted a delegation of American Jews over a ceremony to mark the Jewish Hanukkah holiday on Saturday.

A video of the event - taken by an attendee - circulated widely on social media as it showed Bahraini men in local kaffiyeh attire attending the party with Orthodox Jews.

Although it was unclear whether the attendees had any affiliations with Israel, the video prompted condemnation from the Palestinian militant movement Hamas.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Hamas said it was "amazed and deplored" that Bahrain hosted "a Zionist, racist and extremist Jewish delegation and danced with them in a disgraceful spectacle."

In the statement Hamas urged Bahrain to end the normalisation of relations with Israel.

Saturday's event follows on from a similar ceremony last year when the king of Bahrain hosted a group of Rabbis from Europe to mark Hanukkah.

During the 2015 event, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said that his country "will continue to allow Jews to live peacefully and calmly, maintaining their lifestyle, their customs and the commandments of their religion without any fear".

The holiday of Hannukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a major event in the Jewish religious calendar and usually falls between the end of November and the end of December.

Bahrain, with its population of 1.6 million, has one of the world's smallest Jewish communities with fewer than 50 people.

The kingdom maintains no diplomatic ties with Israel though its foreign minister was one of the first Arab diplomats to offer condolences on the death of Israel's ex-president Shimon Peres in September.

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