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Israeli heritage minister makes official visit to UAE

Amichai Eliyahu is the second Israeli minister to visit the UAE since the country's current government was sworn in.

Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu visits the United Arab Emirates, Sept. 2023. Photo by Amichai Eliyahu/Facebook.
Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu visits the United Arab Emirates, Sept. 2023. Photo by Amichai Eliyahu/Facebook.

Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu visited Abu Dhabi last week at the invitation of senior Emirati officials, the Otzma Yehudit politician revealed in a Hebrew-language Facebook post on Wednesday.

Eliyahu is the second minister to visit the UAE since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was sworn in on Dec. 29, 2022. Last month, Energy Minister Israel Katz traveled to Abu Dhabi to discuss a UAE-brokered water-for-solar energy deal between Israel and Jordan.

Eliyahu flew to the Emirates last week to gain a deeper understanding of the “trajectory of the Abraham Accords,” he explained on Facebook.

“The Abraham Accords created a tremendous infrastructure for heritage. Our first father, Abraham, is also their father and is the real evidence of the verse in the Torah that says Abraham, our father, will be a source of blessing for all nations,” said Eliyahu.

He added: “If you look closely, you understand how great the potential is for creating healthy relationships between nations.”

The minister, who is also a rabbi, was surprised by Emiratis’ genuine respect for Judaism, he said. “Ordinary diplomacy is based on building relationships based on common interests. Alongside this, there must be deep diplomacy based on identity and faith. The ancient Jewish heritage is received with great respect and goodwill.”

Eliyahu concluded his post by calling on the Israeli government to “deepen its relations with the countries of the Abraham Accords” on a “people to people” basis. “Shared values will create a deeper understanding and relationships that will allow us to truly work towards a common goal,” he wrote.

The UAE in 2020 became the first Gulf state along with Bahrain to normalize relations with Israel as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, scheduled to run from November 30 until December 12. It would be his first official visit to the UAE.

The prime minister was scheduled to visit the UAE earlier this year, but that trip was postponed.

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