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Arab Gulf Delegation Lights Hanukkah Candle at Western Wall

Shakara Project
Shakara Project

The Abraham Accords continue to break new barriers. One of the latest developments took place during the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah. 

In a scene once thought impossible by many even a few months ago, a delegation of Bahrainis and Emiratis came to Jerusalem and helped with the lighting of the Hanukkah candles at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.  Hanukkah is the celebration of a great Jewish victory more than two thousand years ago. 

“It is my first time in Israel and I believe it is a historic time to be in Israel - an amazing place, a great nation, and the most important thing is: (there are) a lot of lovely people who want peace,” said Majid al-Sarrah, a member of the Emirati delegation.

The delegation spoke with the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch.

At one point, the delegation exchanged waves and “shouts of “we love you,” with an Israeli crowd.

Both the UAE and Bahrain recently normalized relations with Israel in what’s become known as the Abraham Accords brokered by the Trump administration. 

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin welcomed the delegation to his residence. 

“Welcome, good morning. Such a pleasure when we are talking about peace, it is people to people,” Rivlin told his guests.

The delegation that included bloggers, academics, and businesspeople is part of the Sharaka Project, an Israeli, Bahraini and Emirati initiative to cultivate ties among young people in Israel and Arab states.  Sharaka is an Arabic word for “cooperation.”

“God bless all of you and welcome.  Let’s look forward that you will be the bridge to bring a lot of understanding between all the people in the region,” Rivlin said. 

The Abraham Accords unify the Arab states and Israel against their common enemy Iran. They also upend the conventional wisdom that peace would only between Israel and other countries in the Middle East if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is resolved.   

The next major development maybe a visit by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu to the UAE and Bahrain.  

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