From Bahrain to Yad Vashem: Gulf State Delegation Visits Holocaust Memorial Center

Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
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An exhibit inside the Yad Vashem Holocaust Center, 2013
An exhibit inside the Yad Vashem Holocaust Center, 2013Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol

In a historical first, a delegation composed exclusively of Bahraini citizens visited Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center on Tuesday.

According to a Yad Vashem spokesperson, the group included Bahraini influencers, as well as a representative of the Bahraini Education Ministry. They received a guided tour of the museum in Arabic. The visit was organized by Sharaka, a Gulf-Israeli partnership for social entrepreneurship.

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Dani Dayan, the chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, tweeted that this was the first visit of a Bahraini delegation. However, Bahraini citizens had previously visited the center when an official delegation from there, as well as the United Arab Emirates, flew to Israel last December.

On Monday, Yad Vashem submitted new Holocaust education guidelines in Arabic to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in Berlin in hopes of spurring greater study of the Nazi genocide across the Middle East.

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While Yad Vashem previously wrote lesson plans in Arabic, the new recommendations will “provide guidelines which ground educators in a pedagogical approach,” said Richelle Budd Caplan, the director of international relations and projects at the center’s International School for Holocaust Studies.

These guidelines will allow lessons to be adapted to different cultures and educational systems, Caplan explained. “They encourage educators who do not have confidence or little background on how to approach teaching this complex, difficult subject matter in an age appropriate and accurate way.”

Caplan said that when Yad Vashem started creating these recommendations, it would have been impossible “know or imagine that we would now be having contacts in light of the Abraham Accords and be welcoming someone from the Ministry of Education from Bahrain two years later,” 

She added that this is the first Arabic-speaking group to receive the recommendations and that "Yad Vashem intends to follow up with the Kingdom of Bahrain and their Education Ministry, and we are warmly interested in working with all the gulf states and countries of the Abraham Accords.”

In late 2020, Bahrain’s King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States in which they committed “to work together to share and promote best practices for combating all forms of antisemitism, including anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.”

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