The mainstream Western narrative of the Middle East and North Africa paints a picture of perpetual enmity between Jews and Muslims, with Israel serving as a bastion of safety for the minority religious community. 

While persecution of minority religious groups does exist in the region, that oversimplified portrayal is far from accurate. In fact, small Jewish communities continue to reside in numerous regional countries.

Here's a closer look at this often overlooked reality. 

In Morocco

Around 5,000 Jews continue to reside in Morocco. While the community has been reduced significantly due to emigration, the remnants of Jewish history are still prominent throughout the kingdom. Ancient synagogues and neighborhoods remind the country of the community's historical importance.

During Ramadan this year, Moroccan Jews made headlines after they teamed up with other locals to distribute iftar meals to disadvantaged Moroccan families, for the second consecutive year.

"Morocco has set an example in this part of the world for the way it treats Jewish citizens. Today we are honored to stand by the Moroccan people and show that we can overcome divisions and intolerance everywhere by building bridges of empathy and understanding," Yael Eckstein, the senior vice president of the  International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said, according to Middle East Monitor.

In Iran

Yusef Abad Synagogue in Tehran Source: WikiMedia

Although it is not often highlighted, Iran has the largest and the only growing Jewish population in the Middle East – outside of Israel – with a population between 10,000 and 20,000.

Jews, as well as Christians, and other minority religious groups live peacefully in Iran, serving in the country's government and even voicing criticism of the Zionist Israeli state. Around 60 synagogues, including six in Tehran, serve as places of community and worship for the Iranian-Jewish community.

"Benjamin Netanyahu and the anti-Semites need each other: they supply each other with what they need – intolerance and hatred," Ciamak Morsadegh, an Iranian-Jewish MP said last year, according to The Independent

"The fact is, Iran is a place where Jews feel secure and we are happy to be here," he said. "We are proud to be Iranian. I know this doesn't follow the Zionist script, but this is the reality."

In Lebanon

At its zenith, the Jewish population in Lebanon reached 15,000 in the early 50s. Now the precise number remains unclear. According to the Lebanese Jewish Community Council, the population hovers at around 2,000. But some estimate the population to be less than 100. 

In downtown Beirut, religious groups and political parties from across the spectrum came together in 2009 to renovate the Maghen Abraham Synagogue. 

"This is a religious place of worship and its restoration is welcome," Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's Secretary General said at the time. A spokesperson for the group added, "We respect the Jewish religion just like we do Christianity. The Jews have always lived among us. We have an issue with Israel's occupation of land." 

A recent documentary titled From Brooklyn to Beirut by Lebanese filmmaker Rola Khayyat sheds light on the experience of members of the Jewish Lebanese diaspora. 

In Bahrain

Houda Nonoo, a Jewish woman, served as Bahrain's ambassador to the U.S.

The Jewish community in Bahrain is considered one of the world's smallest, with just over 30 members. Nonetheless, Jews maintain prominent positions within the kingdom. 

The community has representation in Bahrain's parliament. Additionally, Houda Nonoo, a Jewish woman, served as the country's ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013.

Annually, the king of Bahrain marks the start of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah by hosting an event for Jewish and Muslim businessmen.

In Tunisia

Tunisia's Jews feel safe and protected

Tunisia's major Jewish population resides on the island of Djerba, North Africa's largest island. The community numbers at roughly 1,000, according to local leaders.

Tunisian Jews feel safe and protected by the Tunisian government. Pointing to hate crimes against Jews in Europe, a Tunisian rabbi told the Wall Street Journal that his community feels safer on Djerba.

"The Jews of Djerba are concentrated in one area, so the government is able to protect us," Chief Rabbi Haim Bittan said.

Following the countries revolution in 2011, the new democratically-elected government was also quick to reassure the Jewish community that it is valued.