07:21 GMT18 February 2020
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    Hamas condemned the king of Bahrain for hosting a menorah-lighting ceremony to mark the first day of Hanukkah, a Jewish national holiday. Video documenting the ceremony, showing Muslims and Jews dancing together, has gone viral.

    Hamas, a political and militant group from Palestine, issued a statement condemning the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, after he hosted a candle-lighting ceremony together with a group of American Jews. The video of the ceremony, showing Muslims and Jews dancing together, has gone viral on the web.

    Last year was the first time that the king of Bahrain, the only Muslim-dominated country with a synagogue, officially marked the first day of Hanukkah. Bahrain had one of the smallest Jewish populations in the world, about 1,500 Jews in 1948, and most left after the creation of Israel in that year. Less than 50 Jews are said to reside in the country today.

    Bahrain's ambassador to the US between 2008-2013 was a Jewish woman, Houda Nonoo, who had earlier served in the nation's parliament.

    Last year, during the Hanukkah ceremony, the king of Bahrain said that "the call to war against terror needs to come from the leaders of all the religions as one. Here in Bahrain members of all the religions live with no fear."

    "We will continue to allow Jews to live peacefully and quietly, maintaining their lifestyle, their customs and the commandments of their religion," he said.

    But the display of inter-religious friendship caused outrage from Hamas, a militant group seeking to push Israeli Jews from the West Bank, and working toward recognition of the independent Palestinian state.

    Hamas, In a statement, condemned the ceremony, calling it a "humiliating and disgraceful spectacle," attended by a "Zionist, racist and extremist Jewish delegation," and called for Bahrain to "fully stop any form of normalization with the Zionist enemy."

    Bahrain currently maintains no diplomatic ties with Israel, although its foreign minister was one of the first Arab diplomats to offer condolences on the death of Israel's former-president Shimon Peres in September.


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