Israelis in the UAE laud the culture of tolerance
It's estimated that nearly 3,000 Jews currently live and work in the UAE.
The Jewish community in the UAE is thrilled about normalisation of ties between the Emirates and Israel. Israeli expats in the country said the signing of the historic Abraham Accord on Tuesday has opened new avenues for everyone.
It's estimated that nearly 3,000 Jews currently live and work in the UAE. The new relationship between the two countries puts the Jewish community at ease. The accord has ushered in a new Middle East and an era of peace, they said.
Ross Kriel, President, Jewish Council of the Emirates, said: "It is entirely fitting that this should occur just days before the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashana, which commemorates the birthday of Adam and Eve - the common parents of all human beings.
"We stand in admiration of the brave path on which the UAE and Israel have embarked on with the Abraham Accord that has been facilitated by the US administration," he said.
The UAE, guided by its leaders and inspired by the example of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has demonstrated in word and deed a deep commitment to protecting sacred spaces; to encouraging religious practice by all people; and fostering religious diversity. "Right from the beginning - over 10 years ago - we have been a beneficiary of this commitment."
New Jewish centre
Alex Peterfreund, co-founder of the Jewish Council of the Emirates, called the accord a "dream come true".
"Israel will open doors to its Emirati friends. We will learn so much from the cultural exchange. We are all looking forward to the new Jewish Community Centre at Palm Jumeirah. This peace will lead to multiple collaborations in the fields of medicine, agriculture, education and, needless to say, business. This will lead to newer ties between the Muslim world and the Jewish world."
Direct flights a relief
He said he had to previously refer to a map on ways to travel to his home country. "I have family in Israel, and earlier I had to look at the map and think whether I need to travel via Turkey or some other country. Now with direct flights between the two countries, people from the UAE can actually go and spend weekends in Israel. It'll make travel and business much easier for communities and citizens."
Israelis stressed that there is a "social contract of mutual respect" in the country, as the UAE truly becomes a melting pot of different cultures.
Yoni, UAE resident and member of the Jewish community, pointed out: "This day is undoubtedly historic. It will ... lead to new interests and open avenues at a professional level in the fields of business, tourism or agriculture. The fact that I have daughters studying here who will now be privy to Israeli culture and history due to the inclusive curriculum in schools makes me very proud of the country. The UAE is truly all-encompassing. It is already rethinking strategies that will bring broader peace in the Middle East."
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