UAE, Bahrain, Israel envoys come together for Hanukkah ceremony

Dubai - The three ambassadors lit Hanukkah candles at the event.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 4:17 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 4:22 PM

In a historic first on Tuesday night, the Ambassadors of the UAE, Bahrain and Israel to the UK came together for a live Hanukkah reception online. They met in the presence of Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly MP.

The three ambassadors lit Hanukkah candles at the event organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish News. It follows on from the historic signing of the Abrahamic Accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain earlier this year.

This is also a historic collaboration between Jewish and Arab media in the UK, Israel, Bahrain and the UAE, with the Jewish News in London, Khaleej Times in Dubai and Times of Israel in Jerusalem livestreaming the event to millions of followers.

Mansoor Abulhoul, the UAE Ambassador to the UK, thanked the UK Jewish community for the kindness and for the spirit of collaboration that had been extended to him and his colleagues.

He added: “The light that we lit this year was the historic Abraham Accords, when the UAE, Israel and Bahrain, forged a new path. We believe it will help bring peace and prosperity to a region that desperately needs it.”

Shaikh Fawaz bin Muhammad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the UK, said: “In a year when hope has often seemed in short supply, the Abraham Accords are a reason to look ahead with at least some confidence, towards the possibility of a new era of peace for the Middle East, and an era of understanding between all the faiths and peoples of our region.”

He was speaking from the residence of Huda Nonoo, Bahrain’s former ambassador to the US.

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, added: “This is a new era in the history of the Middle East, where we can get to know each other as neighbours and friends and create more prosperity for our peoples.

“As we celebrate the light of Hanukkah, let us celebrate the bright future peace is bringing to our region, and look to the future with hope and optimism.”

James Cleverly MP said: “A great cause of hope is the recent normalisation between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain as well as Sudan and, most recently, Morocco. The UK is proud to have been one of the first countries to welcome these agreements. We are committed to ensuring that these agreements are an enduring success and we will work closely with Israel, the UAE and Bahrain to promote shared prosperity and regional stability and security.”

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, stated that during an unprecedented time of crisis, being able to host this historic occasion “embodies the true spirit and miracle of Hanukkah”.

“During a year of difficulty and darkness for us all, the Abraham Accords, and the subsequent agreements with Sudan and Morocco, heralded a new light. Tonight’s event celebrates that remarkable achievement and the possibilities it brings,” she added.

During the event, Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer was the Master of Ceremonies; and Cantor Jonny Turgel led the singing of traditional Hanukkah songs Hanerot Halalu and Maoz Tzur.

The Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School choir, named after the late Rabbi Lord Sacks, ended the reception with the song Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu (Peace will yet come to us).

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