Houda Ezra Nonoo
(1964 - )
Houda Ezra Nonoo is Bahrain’s first female ambassador to the United States and the first Jewish ambassador of an Arab Country. The granddaughter of Iraqi Jews who migrated to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Nonoo was in Bahrain on September 7, 1964. She attended boarding school in England and obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting from City of London Polytechnic. She then went on to receive her MBA in Business Administration from the International University of Europe in Warterford, UK.
As a founding member of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society, started in 2004, Nonoo worked to bring attention to the plight of domestic workers and other foreign laborers while also working to promote the rights of women and children. In 2006, Nonoo was appointed by King Shaikh Hamad Bin Salman Al-Khalifa to serve on the Committee for Finance and Economic Affairs to the Shura Council, where she replaced her brother Ibrahim, the first Jewish member of the council.
On July 3, 2008, Nonoo was appointed by King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa as Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States.
Following the creation of the state of Israel, attacks on Bahraini Jewish homes caused an exodus from Bahrain’s capital city, Manama. In the early 1940s, around 500 Jews lived in Bahrain. Today, only 36 Jews live there, and Nonoo is related to all of them. Though she is not strictly religious, Nonoo observes the high holidays, fasts on Yom Kippur, and is mindful of Jewish traditions.
Sources: Boustany, Nora. “Barrier-Breaking Bahraini Masters Diplomatic Scene.” The Washington Post. 19 December 2008.