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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Hosting a Los Angeles event with the son of Bahrain's king, two prominent U.S. rabbis let something slip out: the island nation's ruler thinks the longtime boycott of Israel by Arab countries should end.
The rabbis' revelation of the king's opinion shouldn't come as too much of a surprise — Arab nations have slowly inched closer to Israel in recent years, partly because both sides remain incredibly suspicious of Iran's intentions as the wars in Iraq and Syria wind down.
Bahrain may prove to be the test case for other Gulf Arab nations about coming out of the closet about their mutual interests. It also allows the kingdom, still silent about the rabbis' comments, to draw attention away from its internal crackdown on dissent, which largely targets its Shiite majority.