Bahrain, Qatar, or Oman will be the next to normalise relations with Israel
"The first step in the process is a much greater understanding of the Jewish faith and that the Muslim population of Indonesia needs to appreciate that for the Jewish people, " said Rabbi Schneier.02 September 2020 19:23
Israel Katz, Menteri Luar Negeri Israel, bertemu Menteri Luar Negeri Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmad al-Khalifah di Washington DC, 17 Juli 2019. Keduanya membahas mengenai Iran. (Courtesy)
Rabbi March Schneier is among Jewish figures who is very excited to see the peace deal reached between the United of Arab Emirates (UAE) with Israel on August 13. The President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. said this historic moment will have a domino effect.
He has a close relationship with the Gulf countries leaders, include the King of Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah. He believes that there will be another Arab country will take the UAE's path to normalise its relations with Israel by the end of this year.
"I believe that it will be either Bahrain or Qatar or Oman," said Rabbi Marc Schneier in an exclusive interview with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co via WhatsApp yesterday.
How important the official relationship between Israel and UAE towards Israel approach to other Arab and muslim countries?
It’s a wonderful beginning and I believe that it will lead to a domino effect throughout the rest of the Gulf and the greater muslim world as well. There are tremendous economic opportunities for Israel and the UAE through this partnership and I believe that other countries will want access to that same success.
Have you met with Saudi and Indonesia high ranking officials? If so, where, when, and what did you discuss?
I have met with senior Saudi officials, as recently as this past January in Riyadh and we discussed how much progress has been made since the late King Abdullah’s interfaith initiative launched more than a decade ago. I have also met with senior Indonesian officials back in November 2014 when I was there with Imam Shamsi Ali to celebrate the publication of our book, “Sons of Abraham,” which was being translated into Indonesian. We spoke about the need for greater cooperation between the Jewish and Muslim faith communities.
You have a close personal relationship with the King of Bahrain, do you think he will follow the UAE path in the near future or wait until Saudi did it?
I know that King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is committed to establishing relations with Israel, and he would like to show that respect to the Saudis. As he shared with Jared Kushner today, stability in the Gulf region relies on Saudi Arabia in all situations. His Majesty would like to see a reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Do you believe that another one or two Arab countries will have a diplomatic relationship with Israel by the end of this year? If so, what country?
Yes, I do. I believe that it will be either Bahrain or Qatar or Oman.
Regarding current developments, do you think Arab and muslim countries leaders are alienating the Palestine cause? Or during this time, they are hypocrite?
Arab leaders across the board have stated and re-stated their commitment to the Palestinians. Even the UAE has said that their establishing relations with Israel is good for the Palestinian people as it saves the two-state solution.
How about the chance of Indonesia to establish a diplomatic relationship with Israel?
The first step in the process is a much greater understanding of the Jewish faith and that the Muslim population of Indonesia needs to appreciate that for the Jewish people, Israel is a religious issue, not a political issue. If we follow that same trajectory that has been followed successfully in the Gulf, then we will see the establishment of relations.
Do you believe that Palestine is an illusion state?
I think Palestine can be its own state and kudos to the Emirates for rescuing the two-state solution
Is there any Jewish communities in Saudi Arabia? If so where do they live? Are they indigenous Jews or expatriates?
There isn’t a Jewish community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but there are Jews who work and live in the kingdom. They are expatriates.