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September 3, 2020 4:08 am

We Are Proud to Be Emirati Jews

avatar by Ross Kriel / JNS.org

Opinion

The national flags of the United Arab Emirates and Israel flutter along a highway, following the agreement to formalize ties between the two countries, in Netanya, Israel, Aug. 17, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Nir Elias.

JNS.orgThe Jewish residents of the United Arab Emirates waited with anticipation for the Israeli and American delegations that arrived on Monday.

The image of the El Al jet with “shalom” written on it in Hebrew, “salaam” in Arabic, and “peace” in English, was shared on our WhatsApp groups with excitement, emotion, and anticipation. Everyone here — in our community and among our Emirati friends — is speaking about the recent decree abolishing the boycott against Israel, which opens up such great possibilities for prosperity and peace. Without doubt, there can be no more exciting place to be at this moment than right here in the UAE.

In previous years, our members have been informal ambassadors of the Jewish people through hundreds of acts of friendship, courage, and loyalty to their Jewish identity. At this moment, and always, we feel proud to be Jews of the UAE.

We awaited the arrival of the delegations with great expectation, and we were grateful to witness this great moment for the UAE and its leadership.

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, the chief rabbi of the Jewish Council of the Emirates, stated on Sunday, “Tomorrow ought to be imagined not just as a negotiation, but as a family reunion, an embrace of long-lost cousins.”

We cannot lose the “Abraham” in the “Abraham Accord,” as the Israel-UAE peace agreement is called. Just as we cannot forget our shared ancestry, we cannot lose sight of the future. Approximately 65% of the Arab world is under 35-years-old, and our hope is that the political leadership sends an anchor into a prosperous future towards which we can pull ourselves.

Ross Kriel is president of the Jewish Council of the Emirates, the recognized representative body approved by the Jews of the UAE. This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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