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The name Khobar is an Arabic word meaning "small fort". The city was originally named Al-Khubar, with the same meaning. In 1923, the ruler of Bahrain and founder of Saudi Arabia King Abdulaziz granted permission to a group of Dawasir to settle in Khobar. They were fleeing from persecution by Ibn Saud's forces; they had supported his rival Ikhwan rebels against him during the early 20th century and feared reprisals for their actions when Ibn Saud finally consolidated power after World War I ended. The Dawasir were not accustomed to living in cities but quickly adapted due to their commercial background as merchants and traders. In 1938, a small number of Jewish refugees escaping from Nazi Germany arrived in Khobar following an invitation by Abdullah Sulaiman Al Rajhi (the son) who was impressed with what he saw while visiting Europe earlier that year: “I saw how Jews live there…and it would be nice if we could live like them” he told his father upon returning home .