The unthinkable has become natural


Published: Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:29 AM

Last updated: Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:51 AM

The Abraham Accords are coming full circle with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's first visit to the UAE. After months of anticipation, Netanyahu will meet His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in Abu Dhabi and work to further solidify the new alliance that is proving to be one of Israel's most significant partners both regionally and globally.

By Michal Michelle Divon

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The Accords were received with great excitement by Israelis and Emiratis alike following the August 13, 2020, announcement that sent shockwaves across the Middle East.

One month later and many people around the world were glued to their screens for the festive White House signing ceremony on the South Lawn, a day that marked the beginning of a new era for the people of both nations.

In a short few months, an Israeli Head of Mission has been appointed in Abu Dhabi, a Consul-General in Dubai, and the UAE Ambassador to Israel recently returned from his first introductory visit to the Holy Land where he met with government officials and scouted spaces for an embassy.

Just one year ago no one thought this would be possible. In fact, when the accords were first announced many questioned their authenticity and "true" intention, but several months into normalisation and one thing is clear as day, this relationship is only getting stronger.

Within a few months, Kosher restaurants became part of the UAE scenery, Hebrew and Arabic classes gained never-before-seen popularity, Jewish holidays are publicly celebrated, and 'Shabbat Shalom' has gained familiarity with Israelis and Jewish community members wishing their Emirati and Bahraini friends a good weekend.

The Abraham Accords are embraced across sectors and communities. Professional meetings have already been conducted both in the private and public sector, in the fields of education, health, tourism, high-tech, agri-tech, finance, renewable energy, water security and more.

The Israel-UAE Business Council was launched soon after the Accords alongside several other professional and social initiatives like youth-based Israel-is, Sharaka, and the Movement for a Warm Peace. Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Digital Diplomacy team for the Arabic language became instant Abraham Accords social media stars as their efforts to engage in fruitful dialog with the Arab world is received and embraced like never before.

The unthinkable has become natural, and it's only the beginning. We look forward to writing together this next chapter of history.

Michal Michelle Divon, Senior Editor and Producer at Khaleej Times

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