King of Bahrain Lights Hanukkah Candles With Rabbi

The ceremony is the first of its kind in the Persian Gulf nation’s palace since 1948.

Bahrain's King Hamed bin Isa Al Khalifa smiles during a palace ceremony, Sakhir, Bahrain, March 20, 2012.
AP

The director of an Orthodox European rabbinical association lit Hanukkah candles in the palace of the king of Bahrain on Monday in Manama, Bahrain’s capital.

According to a press release from the Conference of European Rabbis, the ceremony was the first of its kind in the Persian Gulf nation’s palace since the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Conference Director Rabbi Moshe Levin, who was invited by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, recited the traditional blessings while lighting the candles, and sang a verse of “Ma’oz Tzur,” the traditional Hanukkah hymn. Some 50 Jews were present for the ceremony.

“A little light drives off a lot of darkness,” Levin told the king, according to the press release. “Bahrain under your rule is a little light in a dark world of radical fundamentalism.”