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Elazar Cohen, Commissioner of the Israel Pavilion at Expo 2020
Elazar Cohen, Commissioner of the Israel Pavilion at Expo 2020

Published: Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:29 AM

Last updated: Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:46 AM

Even before the Abraham Accords were signed, the UAE has extended its warmth by inviting Israel to be a part of Expo 2020 Dubai.

By Rhonita Patnaik

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In April 2019, when the invite was extended to Israel, Vicente G Loscertales, head of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), said that "by inviting all countries of the world to take part, including the State of Israel, the organizers of Expo 2020 are genuinely reflecting the universal spirit of World Expos."

According to reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the participation reflects the country's "continued progress in normalization with the Arab states."

Headed by the Commissioner of the Israel Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Elazar Cohen, the pavilion reflects Israel's "openness" to the Arab world and a sense of belonging to the region. Cohen said he "likes to think that the presence of the Israel Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai facilitated in some way the peace deal between Israel and the UAE". Along with the invitation to the expo, the activities of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its Arabic pages on social networks also contributed to bringing hearts together among the peoples. These pages will also closely review the expo events and bring them to many screens in the Arab world.

According to Cohen in a report, Israel has a prominent position in the exhibition, alongside the UAE.

Presenting plans for the pavilion, Cohen reiterated that the true target audience was the Emirati hosts and the majority Arab visitors, whom he said would find great interest not only in Israeli technology but in its good intentions and outstretched hand.

Concept videos of the pavilion reveal stairs leading up a representation of a sand dune. Described as a "pavilion with no walls and no borders," the stairs are arched by LED screens showing images of different aspects of Israeli society.

The Israeli pavilion will also reflect the multicultural society and coexistence among the various populations in Israel. Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The open pavilion will be bound by seven large, square, arched screened panels with changing and moving images. The pavilion's logo is a combination of Hebrew and Arabic languages, which translates roughly into 'Towards Tomorrow' in English. The open design is meant to showcase Israel "as a place of innovation, offering a vision and horizon in dealing with the challenges of humanity, with emphasis on challenges in the immediate environment - agriculture, water, medicine, communications ..."

David Knafo, the Tel Aviv-based architect behind the design of Israel's pavilion, described that the space is designed to reflect Israel's sense of belonging to the region as well as the openness the Jewish state seeks to broadcast to its Arab neighbours.

"Among other things, the Israeli booth will also showcase Israeli innovations and technologies in various fields such as water, medicine and information technologies," Cohen added.

With regards to the normalisation of ties, Cohen has said in a report that he has no doubts about the fact that the official invitation to Israel from the Gulf authorities to participate in the event was a sign of what was to come.

"In fact, it strengthened in local public opinion the observation that Israel is part of the world that Expo 2020 Dubai wants to represent. And above all, of the great opportunities for exchange between our two nations," he added.

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