The director of an Orthodox European rabbinical association lit Hanukkah candles in the palace of the king of Bahrain.

The ceremony Monday in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, was the first of its kind in the Persian Gulf nation’s palace since the establishment of Israel in 1948, according to a news release from the Conference of European Rabbis.

Conference director Rabbi Moshe Levin, who was invited by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, recited the traditional blessings while lighting the candles and sang a verse of “Maoz Tzur,” the traditional Hanukkah hymn. Some 50 Jews were present for the ceremony.

“A little light drives off a lot of darkness,” Levin told the king, according to the news release. “Bahrain under your rule is a little light in a dark world of radical fundamentalism.”

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