In the wake of the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents have spiked around the world. But the relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates established in the Abraham Accords are growing.
Ambassador Eitan Na’eh is Israel’s first diplomat to the United Arab Emirates. CBN News spoke with Na’eh on a trip to Abu Dhabi regarding the reaction of the UAE to the recent conflict with Hamas.
“I visited a salon here, during the campaign, the Gaza campaign and I heard things that I don’t believe Israelis heard before. ‘The whole time until the Abraham Accords, we only got one side, the Palestinian side, and now for the first time we can hear the other side, the Israeli side,’” Na’eh said, quoting what he had heard.
Last year, Israel, the UAE, and other Arab countries established diplomatic ties, known as the Abraham Accords. Na’eh described those ties as an effort by what he called the “people of tomorrow” to depart from the rocket-firing people of yesterday.
“It doesn’t mean that the challenges go away, it doesn’t mean that there are not that many people that will try to challenge it, who will try to test it but I think that the determination is here, the strategic decision is here and we are back to normal to build relations, to sign agreements, to create contacts, to build our embassy here, so for us we are continuing and that’s the message that we get from our Emirati counterparts,” Na’eh told CBN News.
In the last seven months, Na’eh said Israel has been able to advance the idea that there are two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said the Foreign Ministry’s social media pages in Arabic had 56 million views in the last few days.
“So, the Israeli narrative, in spite of what seemed to be to the contrary, is getting traction in the Arab street, and I think we should pay attention to that,” he said.
One sign of this growing relationship is the opening of first-ever Holocaust Memorial exhibit in the Arabian Gulf in a museum in Dubai, UAE.
The exhibit at The Crossroads of Civilizations Museum is designed to raise awareness among local Emiratis, foreign workers and tourists. It explores the events leading up to the Holocaust and includes a tribute to Arab heroes who defended and saved Jews.
“I think it's very important to be recognised and acknowledge and to have the compassion and to have the courage also to acknowledge this negative history that happened at that time, the history of the massacre, of ethnic cleansing, of singling one ethnicity, one religion, you know and not just hunting them in the country there but also in other countries, try to gather them so you know this was very, very bad,” said museum founder, Ahmed Almansoori.
Na’eh and the Jewish community were invited to the opening.
“As we can see with this exhibition, this is the exact opposite of what we see in Gaza - tolerance. I think that what we see here in the whole normalization process is a departure from the past, from the wars and the battles and the rockets firing,” Na’eh said on the sidelines of the exhibit’s debut.
"At least to our ears, the UAE has called [for] the cessation of the killing from both sides. They were mourning the death in both sides,” Na’eh added.
Na’eh said it’s important to recognize that the Middle East is in a different place, to embrace it, and nurture those relations.
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