Secret synagogue in Dubai prays for Persian Gulf revival

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an unmarked villa, nestled amid homes in an upscale Dubai neighborhood, a congregation prays in the first fully functioning synagogue in the Arabian Peninsula in decades.

Though its members keep its precise location secret, the synagogue’s existence and the tacit approval it has received from this Islamic sheikhdom represent a slow rebirth of a burgeoning Jewish community in the Persian Gulf, uprooted over the decades after the creation of Israel.

The United Arab Emirates’ rulers have sought to boost the community by hosting interfaith events and pledging to build a massive multi-faith complex that includes a synagogue, part of their efforts to burnish the country’s image to the West. Meanwhile, ties between Gulf Arab states and Israel slowly warm over their mutual enmity of Iran, though concerns about the future of the Palestinians remain a wedge.


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