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More interesting, perhaps, then the fact that Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo is the first Jewish ambassador from the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain is that the 45-year-old diplomat rose to her post despite being one of only three dozen Jews in the Arab nation.

The Baltimore Jewish Times has a story about Nonoo's visit this month with a group of Baltimoreans visiting Washington as part of the Jewish Muslim Dialogue coordinated by the Baltimore Jewish Council.

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"We have a visible Jewish community in that we have 36 people and we are all related," said the British-educated Nonoo, the Bahraini ambassador to the United States.

She says her family's history in Bahrain goes back more than a century, when her grandfather arrived from Iraqi to start a financial business. She described a climate of relative harmony among Jews and Muslims.

"During the festivals, we go to each others houses and our non-Jewish friends come to wish l'shanah tova," she said. "We wish them well and visit their houses on the Muslim Eid Festival, too."

Bahrain does not recognize the State of Israel. Nonoo says her country's role in resolving the conflict is limited.

"We are inviting Israeli journalists to Bahrain, but being a small country we can't take that first step of making peace," she said. "It's going to take a long time."

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