The first commercial passenger flight from the United Arab Emirates to Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport touched down on Monday.

The Etihad 787-10 Dreamliner had 58 passengers aboard and was welcomed with a ceremony. On its return flight to Abu Dhabi, the plane will carry business people, tourism industry executives and journalists, reported Ynet.

“We are very excited to be here,” said the flight’s captain, Saleh Abdullah. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of a good relationship between UAE and Israel—and if someone had asked me a few months ago if I would be here making a speech in Tel Aviv, I would have said this is impossible.”

Separately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Miri Regev toured the Haifa Port on Monday, where a vessel bearing the first cargo shipped directly from the UAE to Israel is currently anchored.

“We are on the deck of the ship that arrived from the United Arab Emirates, with very many containers. I asked what is in the containers and they explained to me: washing machines. This is now lowering the price of washing machines, electric devices and food. Everything that arrives here simply lowers the cost of living, and every citizen of Israel will feel the impact of it,” said Netanyahu.


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