This 2024 - Let's Win the Battle of Headlines
OpinionColumn

The king of Bahrain’s blessed vision

The king is determined to bring peace and harmony through religious freedom.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog is welcomed at the Al-Qudaibiya Palace in Manama by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Dec. 4, 2022. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO).
Israeli President Isaac Herzog is welcomed at the Al-Qudaibiya Palace in Manama by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Dec. 4, 2022. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO).
Gina Ross
Gina Ross
Gina Ross, MFCT, is the founder and president of the International Trauma-Healing Institute USA and ITI-Israel.

On August 1, I attended a gala dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the inaugural King Hamad Award for Peaceful Coexistence under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, sponsored by the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence and This Is Bahrain.

It was an uplifting and inspiring evening, especially at this moment of struggle and strife, including in our beloved Israel. If this interfaith movement could take off—after centuries of battles between religions—and fulfill his Majesty’s declaration on religious freedom that “every person has the right to pray as he or she sees fit,” then anything is possible for our people.

It’s an optimistic vision in this moment of despair and hostility, in which brother is rising against brother, and many are concerned that the dispute over the role of Israel’s Supreme Court has irreversibly damaged Israeli unity.

The king is determined to create the most comprehensive interfaith movement ever undertaken, to bring peace and harmony among people through religious freedom.

The evening began with a video showing meetings between Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Bahai and other faith leaders coming together on the initiative of the King of Bahrain.

The chairman of the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Existence, Dr. Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, talked about the search for peace and harmony through religious freedom, a recurrent theme in Bahrain’s history and culture. Peaceful coexistence is possible and is reachable, he said, and King Hamad’s vision is to fulfill this promise.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier’s speech blended a keen sense of humor (his first connection with the King was through their mutual admiration of Frank Sinatra), spirituality (his Jewish blessing for the King) and pointed biblical references.

Rabbi Hier spoke of the rewarding experience of working with the King, of how the King had denounced the Arab boycott of Israel and of the Wiesenthal Center’s work to make “the Abraham Accords a historic reality.”

He introduced former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one of the principal architects of the Accords, as the keynote speaker. Secretary Pompeo believed that “there was a place for every nation to prosper through their friendship and shared cooperation.” He said that the idea of “peace through strength” made the Abraham Accords possible. He explained that “we know strength deters wars, and weakness invites them” and that Israel “is not the problem in the Middle East,” receiving the loudest applause of the evening.

Betsy Mathieson, deputy chairperson of This Is Bahrain, said the evening conveyed the King’s spirit and vision of harmony brought about by freedom of religion.

I left the event inspired, hopeful and believing that anything is possible. It just requires people like the leaders present at this evening to work with courage, heart and vision.

Originally published by Jewish Journal.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates