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Herzog at Expo 2020 Dubai: In Israel, ‘The Impossible is a Tantalizing Challenge’

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Israeli President Isaac Herzog speaks during the Public Forum Conference on Nov. 15, 2018. Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

JNS.org – Israeli President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog on Monday opened the country’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, where the national anthem “Hatikvah” was played.

“Israel is a country in which obstacles become opportunities, and where the impossible is a tantalizing challenge,” Herzog said. “This pavilion has provided a phenomenal taste of what we have to offer — from water tech and sustainable agriculture, to public health, to smart cities and ground-breaking solutions for a circular economy. It has also been a stage for the beautiful mosaic of cultures, faiths, music and arts that make up Israel’s vibrant society. And it has been a practical display of cooperation between nations, of the future we can all imagine.”

He added that “this imagination turned into reality right here, when the UAE and its leaders daringly signed the historic Abraham Accords. This was a decision not only to normalize ties, but to shape a new tomorrow for the next generation of both our nations and of the entire region.”

According to the president, since the Abraham Accords were announced, trade has topped $1 billion and more than 120 agreements have been signed. Moreover, a $100 million R&D fund was established.

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“Part of the novelty of the UAE is the combination of an innovative spirit and forward-thinking approach, with deep respect for the glorious Muslim tradition,” Herzog said. “We, the people of Israel, as children of the same Abraham, share your high regard for religious faith bound with ingenuity. We admire the course you have charted. Friends, I hope, and I believe, that more and more nations will soon follow the UAE’s lead and join the Abraham Accords.”

He concluded by saying that “the State of Israel is eager to walk with the UAE, and all the nations here at the expo towards a brighter, more sustainable and more peaceful tomorrow, for our nations, our region and the entire world.”

In response to the president’s remarks, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, commissioner-general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said how pleased he was that Israel joined the event.

“The participation of 192 countries is a testament to the UAE’s efforts to bring the world together into one unified platform in a bid to build bridges, engage in constructive dialogue and develop sustainable solutions to modern-day challenges,” Al Nahyan said. “We strongly believe that what unites humanity far outweighs what divides it.”

After leaving the expo, Herzog met with Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The World Expo is hosted every five years in a different country, in a location selected by a vote at the Bureau International des Expositions. The United Arab Emirates is the first Middle Eastern country to host the event.

Each country at the expo presents its own pavilion through which it shares select elements of its culture, history and progress, as well as its vision for the future. To date, more than 600,000 people have visited Israel’s pavilion, including local officials, and heads of states and ministers from around the world.

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