Ex US President Donald Trump talks with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they stand together on the West Wing colonnade before the signing of the Abraham Accords, normalising relations between Israel and some of its Middle East neighbours on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: In an historic first, Jewish communities in the Gulf will hold a joint virtual Lag B’Omer/Iftar celebration hosted by the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), the people-to-people network of Jewish communities from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are developing Jewish life in the region. The event will include a panel discussion with Jewish and Muslim ambassadors focusing on how interfaith and co-existence is propelling the GCC region forward.

On Thursday, April 29, at 7pm in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and 8pm in UAE and Oman, the AGJC will host a webinar moderated by the American Jewish Committee’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs Rabbi David Rosen featuring Sheikh Abdulla Rashed Al Khalifa, Bahraini Ambassador to the United States; Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US; and Marc Sievers, Former Ambassador of the United States to Oman. Bahrain’s Ambassador Houda Nonoo will speak during the program as well.

“Both Sefirat HaOmer and Ramadan share a common theme as they are a time for reflection. As we celebrate the Lag B’Omer holiday and Iftar dinner together as the AGJC with our Muslim neighbours, it’s a time for us to reflect on where the region is today and the role that interfaith diplomacy has played in getting us here,” said the AGJC’s Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie.

“Interfaith dialogue and co-existence is the catalyst for change in the Gulf and it was very important for us to host a programme during this time when both Jews and Muslims celebrate holidays in order to further this important conversation,” said AGJC President Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo. “Living in the Gulf, we are blessed to share and experience many holidays with our Muslim neighbours and to host them at our tables for our holidays. This virtual celebration will continue to bring us all together.”

The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) is the umbrella organisation for the Jewish communities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are building and enhancing Jewish life in the region. While each community is independent, they share a common goal and vision – for Jewish life to flourish in the Gulf for the benefit of both residents and visitors. The AGJC oversees programming and services such as the Beth Din of Arabia, the Arabian Kosher Certification Agency, lifecycle events and other community programs.