Thursday 3rd Mar 2016
Rabbi Marc Schneier, a prominent interfaith activist and president of the Foundation of Ethnic Understanding based in New York, was received by King Hamad bin Isa at the royal palace in Manama in order to discuss regional concerns in the Middle East, including the status of Hezbollah.
During the Rabbi’s meeting with the King Hamad, the leader noted that there were one or two countries among the GCC who had wanted to distinguish between Hezbollah’s militia and its political wing although this was ultimately rejected.
A compromise over the strength of the language was however reached to accommodate different opinions in the GCC, which is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
According to Schneier, who has met with the King of Bahrain on two other occasions, the King told him that he was advocating for the struggle against Hezbollah to be expanded as widely as possible in the Arab world, stating that the Arab League and its 22 member states should take up this mantle and label the group as a terror organization.
Schneier himself noted that the shared enmity held by the Gulf Arab states and Israel against Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors should be seized as an opportunity to create an alliance with countries that have formerly been hostile to the Jewish state.
“Iran is not only an obstacle but an opportunity for peace between Israel and Arab nations,” Schneier told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday after his meeting on Wednesday with al-Khalifa.
“Both Israel and the Gulf states share a common enemy, so it’s the makings of a natural alliance, in terms of joining forces against the evil of terrorism, religious extremism and fanaticism.
“It’s a real opportunity and a silver lining in the dark cloud of terror. The Gulf states recognize Israel as an ally against Iran, and its ability to stabilize the region and support moderate Arab countries, so this could be a game changer in the geopolitical climate of the Middle East.”