Bahrain Minister Dismissed For Refusal To Shake Hands With Israeli Envoy

Israeli Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Na'eh at the first Yom Haatzmaut reception in Bahrain in May 2022 (m.). Standing next to him is Ambassador Dr. Sheikh Abdallah Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa and US Ambassador to Bahrain Steven Bondy; Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khlida (Photo: Bahraini government/Wikimedia Commons)

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A senior Bahraini official and member of the ruling family was dismissed from her position by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa after she refused to shake hands with the Israeli ambassador in Manama, Arab media outlets reported last week.

Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, who was serving as the government’s Cultural Minister, also opposed plans focused on the “Judaization” of Old Manama neighborhoods.

The handshaking refusal occurred on June 16, at a memorial service held by US Ambassador Stephen Bundy to Bahrain for his father. During the event, Shaikha Mai refused Na’eh’s outstretched hand while the service was being filmed. She then left the ambassador’s house after requesting that the US embassy refrain from publishing any photos of her at the event.

Shaikha Mai has served in various government positions for over years and has been described as a “controversial figure,” according to an Al-Mayadeen report.

A 2014 Forbes report listed her as number six on the Middle East list of the most powerful Arab women.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Her political opinions and stances sound quite hostile to Israel and the Jewish people. Nonetheless, she toon deserves the dignity of exercising her choice regarding shaking the hand of a male!

  2. What’s the big deal? She did a big Tova to Yidden. It might now become acceptable for men and women to meet without being expected to shake hands.

  3. Just a minute, don’t many female Haredi figures refuse to shake hands with men? Was the Israeli President’s female Chief of Staff, Mrs. Rivka Rivlin, sacked when she refused to shake President Biden’s hand?