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Israeli, Emirati, Bahraini, Moroccan Soccer Players to Team Up at Abraham Accords Games in Dubai

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan display their copies of signed agreements while US President Donald Trump looks on, at the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, at the White House in Washington, DC, Sept. 15, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Tom Brenner.

The United Arab Emirates will host a festive dinner and soccer game next week with top players from Abraham Accords countries, in a bid to promote peace between Israel and Arab nations through their shared love of sports and food.

The multinational initiative, led by US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides and UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al-Khaja, seeks to deepen cultural cooperation and build people-to-people ties after Israel normalized diplomatic ties with Arab countries — UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan — under the so-called Abraham Accords in 2020.

Nides described the event as an “opportunity to forge long-lasting connections between athletes, restaurateurs, and other doers and makers who have created such vibrant societies in the UAE, Israel, Morocco, and Bahrain.”

“Culture is the best way to create lasting connections,” he added.

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The one-day “Abraham Accords Festival” will kick off on Tuesday at the Expo2020 Dubai, with a soccer match between a combined Israeli, Emirati, Bahraini, and Moroccan squad named “Abraham Accords Classics” team, which will play against against the “World Legends” team, featuring international soccer stars.

Israeli players Tal Ben Haim, Salim Tuama, and Maor Buzaglo will play on the Abraham Accords team along with Salaheddine Bassir, Noureddine Naybet, and Mustapha Hadji of Morocco; Bakheet Saad, Basheer Saeed, and Humaid Fakher of the UAE; and Talal Yousif Mohamed, Faouzi Mubarak Aaish, and Mahmood Abdul Rahman Mohamed of Bahrain.

The world legends team includes Brazil’s Kaká and Julio Cesar; Spain’s Carles Puyol and Michel Salgado; Argentina’s Javier Saviola; Nigeria’s Jay Jay Okocha; France’s Robert Pires, Bacary Sanga, and Claude Makélélé; and Holland’s Clarence Seedorf.

As part of the festival, a dinner will be prepared by renowned chefs Avivit Priel from Israel, Mohammed Baya of Morocco, Khaled Al Saadi of the UAE, and Bahraini chefs Yusuf Zainal and Salah Zainal.

“Strong peace is based on strong relationships between the citizens of the Abraham Accords countries,” stated Al-Khaja. “We want to see the people get together to play, eat, form partnerships, friendships, and have fun together.”

Israeli Culture Minister Chili Tropper and his counterparts from the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco will join the festival and sign a joint declaration on culture and sport to foster future collaborations.

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