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December 5, 2022 4:59 pm
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UAE Chief Welcomes Israeli President to ‘Second Home’ in Abu Dhabi

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President Isaac Herzog meets on Dec. 5, 2022, with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi. Photo: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom

Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with the president of the United Arab Emirates on Monday, after addressing a global forum on outer space space in Abu Dhabi.

It was Herzog’s fourth meeting with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan since becoming president, a largely ceremonial role. On Sunday, he became the first Israeli head of state to visit Bahrain.

Both Arab nations agreed to normalize relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords in 2020, mediated with the support of the United States.

“The UAE is a major linchpin in the movement towards peace in the region,” Herzog said at the outset of the meeting. He emphasized the broad support the Abraham Accords have garnered within Israel, and the need to both strengthen relations and bring “more nations on board.”

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Sheikh Mohammed thanked Herzog “for coming back again to your second home,” and expressed pride in the “very strong bridge” built between the countries.

The two recently met at the sidelines of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt in November.

Earlier on Monday, Herzog delivered a keynote speech at the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, which brings together decision-makers from across the globe to discuss the future of space. He pointed to his country’s cooperation with American, European, and other space agencies, and particularly “our evolving space partnership with the United Arab Emirates.”

“For an inspiring example, look no further than the Venus satellite, a joint Israeli-French project, which is now providing data for joint Israeli-Emirati research,” said Herzog, noting that the satellite is monitoring vegetation on Earth and relaying back multi-spectral images.

“In their first joint venture, the Israeli and Emirati space agencies are now funding a joint analysis of this data by Israeli and Emirati scientists, which will help us better understand our global environment and collaborate on new solutions to protect our planet’s green lungs,” he said.

The Israeli president also lauded India’s “immense technology capabilities” and “extremely impressive space program,” urging cooperation to address “the urgent climate crisis in the Middle East and Mediterranean.”

“I believe that the UAE and Israel and India can lead the way for the entire region, together with our friends and partners,” he said.

Herzog also pointed to Israel’s TEVEL program, through which high school students, Jews and Arabs, “are building, testing, and launching nanosatellites into space, and then using them to gather data and conduct experiments.”

Israel, he said, “invites all the countries here to work with us to expand this program regionally and internationally.”

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