The Israel Pavilion was officially opened at Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday evening in a glittering ceremony that saw high-profile Emirati as well Israeli officials in attendance.
The inauguration was hosted by Israel’s Minister of Tourism Yoel Razvozov and Elazar Cohen, Commissioner General of the Israel Pavilion.
Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, Najeeb Mohammed Alali, Executive Director of the Commissioner General Office, Expo 2020 and Eli Cohen, Corporate secretary general, KKL-JNF also spoke at the ceremony.
Minister Razvozov said in his opening remarks: “I'm truly delighted to be standing here as a representative of the Israeli people and the Israeli government at the opening of Israel's National Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
“Many things are happening here for the first time. For the first time in history, the Expo fair is being held in an Arab country. It is also the first time there is an Israeli pavilion in a major fair on Arab soil. It is one of the most sound and robust steps towards cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Israel in history.”
“Peace allows us to forge a new reality in the Middle East that will bring prosperity, security and stability to all. We believe that in order to reach a better tomorrow, one should choose practical and positive actions today. So, I'm delighted to invite each and every one of you and each and every visitor, participant and host at this Expo to come and visit our country. Come and see for yourself what Israel is really about. Tourism allows us to explore, learn from and accommodate each other. Tourism will build a human bridge to peace!”
The event began with a traditional Mezuzah ceremony performed by Rabbi Levi Duchman. The Mezuzah Case was made and designed exclusively for Expo 2020 Dubai by famous Judaica Artist David Roytman. Hanging a mezuzah on a doorpost is an ancient Jewish practice that fulfils a biblical commandment from Deuteronomy to write the words of the Lord on the door posts of one's home. This was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony, performed by the Minister of Tourism and Commissioner General.
“Tonight, by placing the Mezuzah at the entrance of our pavilion, we turned it into our home. I have been dreaming of this day for many years, and at this historical moment, I wish to thank Israel and the UAE governments, for making this dream come true,” said Cohen.
“Our pavilion is open to everyone, and while many things divide us, common challenges and the hope for 'tomorrow' unite us. Together we can and will make our future, our tomorrow, better,” he added.
The tourism minister arrived who arrived in the UAE on Wednesday toured the UAE and Russian pavilions, as well as the pavilion of his country of birth – USA.
The event concluded with a performance by Hamalgezot, an Israeli band playing traditional Israeli music and Israeli D.J. Abass playing for the around 250 guests.
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