Former Bahraini ambassador to US – a remarkable Jewish woman – joins ALL ARAB NEWS advisory board
Amb. Houda Nonoo visited Israel last week for her first time, and it was an emotional moment for her
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by Joel C. Rosenberg | December 11, 2020
Former Bahraini Ambassador to US Houda Nonoo (Photo: screenshot)
It with tremendous gratitude that I am pleased to announce that Bahraini Ambassador Houda Nonoo has just joined the ALL ARAB NEWS advisory board.
She is a unique and remarkable woman – the first female ambassador from Bahrain ever sent to the United States (serving from 2008 to 2013), and the first Jewish person to serve as an ambassador from the Arab world.
I first met Nonoo (pronounced “New-new”) in Washington in 2018, and then again in Washington in 2019.
Her story is absolutely fascinating, as is her perspective on the region.
Last week, Nonoo joined Bahrain’s foreign minister on the nation’s historic first-ever delegation to Jerusalem, building upon the Abraham Accords signed at the White House on Sept. 15 and laying the groundwork for tourism, trade and investment between Bahrain and Israel.
While meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Nonoo personally invited him to visit Bahrain to celebrate Hannukah next month.
Could she end up being appointed to serve as Bahrain’s first ambassador to Israel?
On that, Nonoo has no comment.
But she is excited about the new doors that are opening for her country, and her people.
In addition to joining the ALL ARAB NEWS advisory board, Nonoo has begun writing for Israeli publications.
On Oct. 21, she published a column in Israel Hayom, the largest daily newspaper in the Jewish state.
Nonoo also wrote a column for The Jerusalem Post published today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, saying the the Middle East has a lot to be grateful for this year.
“While Thanksgiving is often thought of as an American holiday, I believe that this year, the Middle East must join our friends in America as we have a lot to be thankful for, especially the Abraham Accords. There are so many aspects of these accords which we should be thankful for,” she writes and then goes on to list several.
“Last week, I had the honor and privilege of participating in a delegation led by Foreign Minister H.E. Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani’s to Israel – the first time Bahraini officials landed in Israel, flying on our national carrier, Gulf Air Flight number 972,” she wrote. “While it was historic and memorable for all, it was particularly exciting for me as a Bahraini Jew.”
“This was my very first visit to Israel. As you may know, I was the first Jew to ever be appointed as an ambassador of Bahrain and the first woman to serve as Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States. During my five years serving in Washington, I made many new friends and was often asked if I had been to Israel. I always said, ‘Not yet.’ In my heart, I hoped and prayed for the opportunity, but I was determined to wait for the moment when circumstances would allow such a visit. As a loyal and committed citizen of Bahrain, I naturally respected the reality of the situation. I could only dream. And hope. And wait. And dream some more. Last week, that dream became a reality.”
“I wish to thank His Majesty, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness, Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, for their leadership, vision, and courage to lead our nation proudly and boldly into the future through the signing of the Abraham Accords. I, like my fellow Bahraini citizens, express our support and enthusiasm for the opportunity our leaders have seized and the promise it represents to build a better life with security and opportunity for all of us and for future generations still to come.”
“This reminds me of a beautiful story from King David’s Book of Psalms,” she added. “In Psalm 126 we read, ‘When God will return us to Zion, we will be like dreamers.’ Our Sages ask, ‘What is the reason we should be like dreamers? Isn’t reality good enough?’ And the answer offers a touching insight. Too often when we anticipate something, when we picture what will be, our imagination builds it up so much that the reality is bound to disappoint. But King David tells us, when we return to Zion, to the homeland of our ancient tribes and where our history was born, the reality will glow with the same bright colors and beauty we imagined in our dreams.”
In 2006, Ambassador Nonoo was appointed by His Majesty King Hamad Bin Salman Al Khalifa to the Shura Council, the upper house of the National Assembly, the main legislative body of Bahrain.
Since 2008, Ambassador Nonoo has served as ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain.
Nonoo is one of the founders of the Bahrain Association for Child Safety (BACS).
She is also a founding member of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS), and served as its secretary general from 2005 to 2008.
She is considered a prominent figure in the areas of political, economic and cultural life, not only in Bahrain, but also throughout the world.
Nonoo received her MBA in Business Administration from the International University of Europe in Watford, UK, in addition to a Bachelor of Arts Degree with accounting as her main major from the City of London University, UK.
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