By Aryeh Levin, COLlive reporter
One a recent snowy evening, guests arrived at the Lubavitch Center in Washington, DC, home of American Friends of Lubavitch, which played host to a private dinner meeting for a visiting foreign dignitary.
“Heading to dinner with a prominent Jewish Ambassador to the United States – will say more after I see if it’s on-the-record,” William Daroff, Vice President for Public Policy for the Jewish Federations of North America, tweeted on his account.
He was referring to Houda Nonoo, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the U.S. – believed to be the Arab world’s first Jewish envoy, who attends services at The Shul of the Nation’s Capital at Lubavitch Center.
Joining him were senior representatives of AIPAC, American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, Anti-Defamation League and other prominent members of the Washington Jewish community.
Daroff’s message on the micro-blogging site sparked interest, and COLlive.com immediately inquired about it. But Chabad Rabbi Levi Shemtov declined to elaborate.
Soon enough, at 8:45 PM, the dinner’s special guest leaked it himself – through Twitter.
Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa tweeted: “Was invited by my friend rabbi shimtov 2 a dinner w/ leaders of the American Jewish community. gr8 discussion abt peace in ME (Middle East).”
“It was supposed to be hush-hush, but, nu, it was tweeted,” Ron Kampeas, Washington reporter for JTA, wrote on his blog.
After learning of the tweet, Rabbi Shemtov told COLlive that the minister said: “People must understand that Israel has a historical presence in the region of the Middle East, belongs there and is a permanent presence in the region.”
The minister added: “Once others will accept these facts, it will be easier to make peace” – a point he was said publicly in the past, but reiterated to the Jewish leaders.
Shemtov told JTA that, especially around Purim time, it’s worth singling out for praise non-Jews who speak truth to power to regional leaders threatening Jewish annihilation.
“There are those, unfortunately too few as yet in the region, who say there is virtue to the Jewish people and if we discover it and explore it we may find the need for conflict is not really there,” Shemtov said.
“His excellency King Hamad and his excellency Shaikh Khalid are such people.”