With all the noise around President Trump’s decertification of the Iran deal over the last seven days, two voices, traditionally associated with being in opposition to Israel, made astonishing statements signaling the end of their animosity to Israel.
The first is Bahrain, whose foreign minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa declared the following after the first direct confrontation between Iran and Israel Wednesday night:
“As long as Iran has breached the status quo in the region and invaded countries with its forces and missiles, so any state in the region, including Israel, is entitled to defend itself by destroying sources of danger.”
Bahrain has shown extroadinary openess to Jews in recent years with its king including a Jew on his council. While Bahrain despises Iran, ever since the Iranian attempted stage a coup against its king in 1981, this statement goes far beyond other overtures.
The second country is Tunisia, who still has a Jewish population on the island of Jerba. The head of Tunisia’s Liberal Party Mounir Baator made the following statement in a debate on Tunisian TV where he argued with a conservative lawmaker:
“How was Israel affected by the tearing up of its flag? It was a meaningless gesture with no impact. He took an A4 sheet of paper and tore it up. It was nothing but a show. Why didn’t you tear up the American flag?” he said.
He explained that “we are calling for normal economic relations with all countries. We believe that enmity toward Israel and love of the Palestinian cause are not Tunisia’s real problems today. Tunisia’s problems are social and economic.”
“Whether or not you tear up the flag of the Zionist entity… By the way, it is called the State of Israel, not the Zionist entity. The State of Israel exists, it is a member in the United Nations and in all the international organizations, and its flag flies everywhere. So whether or not you tear it up is immaterial to Israel,” he added.
While it appears these two countries are far from ready to move their embassies to Jerusalem, let alone having real diplomatic relations with the State of Israel, the voices beginning to flow from many of their citizens and even government members are encouraging and a true sign that we are living in momentous times.