Houda Nonoo

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Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo
Nonoo with Bush 2008-07-28.jpg
Ambassador Nonoo
National Assembly
Personal details
Residence Bahrain

Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo (Arabic: هدى عزرا نونو‎; born 1964) served as the Bahraini Ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2013. She was appointed to the position by decree of Foreign Affairs Minister Khaled Ben Ahmad Al-Khalifa. Nonoo is the first Jewish person, and third woman, to be appointed ambassador of Bahrain. She is also the first Jewish ambassador of any Middle Eastern Arab country,[1][2][3] and the first female Bahraini ambassador to the United States.[4] Some local media criticized the appointment,[5] and Radio Canada reported that her nomination was controversial within Bahrain, with some suggesting that a Jew might not be the best choice to defend Bahrain's refusal to recognise Israel. Al-Khalifa rejected these concerns.[1]

Nonoo lived for an extended period of time in the United Kingdom, where she attended a Jewish school. She earned a BA in accounting from City University London and an MBA from the International University of Europe in Watford. She also met and married a British man, with whom she had two sons; Menashe and Ezra. After her father died, she returned to Bahrain to take over one of the family businesses, becoming a successful businesswoman.[6]

Prior to her appointment, she was president of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society, and had for three years been a member of parliament (40-member Shura Council), after being appointed by King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah. Her appointment made headlines because Houda is part of the small Jewish community of Bahrain. Bahrain's Jewish community reportedly consists in just thirty-seven people, most of whom are the descendants of immigrants from Iraq and Iran.[1][2] Nonoo is not the first person in her family to enter Bahraini politics, or member of the Jewish community. In 1934, her grandfather Abraham Nonoo served as a member of the Manama Municipality, the first ever elected municipal body in Bahrain.[7] In 2000, a cousin, Ebrahim Daoud Nonoo was appointed to parliament. The Nonoo family is originally from Iraq having moved to Bahrain over a century ago.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Bahreïn persiste et signe", Radio Canada, June 8, 2008
  2. ^ a b "Une juive ambassadrice d'un pays arabe", Radio Canada, May 31, 2008
  3. ^ "Bahrain names Jewish ambassador". BBC News. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  4. ^ "Bahraini king taps Jewish woman lawmaker as envoy to U.S.". Haaretz. 2008-06-08. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  5. ^ "Bahrain picks Jew as U.S. envoy, local media critical". Reuters. 2008-05-08. Retrieved 2010-10-27. [dead link]
  6. ^ Meet Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, Bahrain Jewish U.S. ambassador
  7. ^ Nancy Elly Khedourie, From Our Beginning to Present Day (Al Manar Press: 2007) p. 78
  8. ^ בחריין: יהודיה תכהן בפרלמנט (in Hebrew). Walla!. 6 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-07. 

External links[edit]

  • [1] Official embassy bio