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Israel in damage control mode after Regev disses Dubai

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen praises the United Arab Emirates after Transport Minister Miri Regev said: “I was in Dubai—not that I will go back there, I didn't like the place.”

Israel's Minister of Sports and Culture Miri Regev with supporters of Likud at party headquarters in Tel Aviv, soon after the publication of early voting results in the Israeli general elections on Sep. 17, 2019. Photo by Gili Yaari/Flash90.
Israel's Minister of Sports and Culture Miri Regev with supporters of Likud at party headquarters in Tel Aviv, soon after the publication of early voting results in the Israeli general elections on Sep. 17, 2019. Photo by Gili Yaari/Flash90.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen went into damage control mode after Minister of Transport, National Infrastructure and Road Safety Miri Regev said on Wednesday that she didn’t like Dubai.

“I love Dubai. And so do 1 million Israelis that visited the UAE last year,” Cohen tweeted in Hebrew, English and Arabic with a picture of himself shaking hands with United Arab Emirates President Mohamed Bin Zayed.

Cohen also released a video praising Dubai from Warsaw, where he is on a diplomatic visit.

Noting that has been to Dubai four times, including with his family, Cohen said: “Dubai is a great place to visit, and it’s not for nothing that over a million Israelis in the last two years have also chosen to visit Dubai. Our relationship with Dubai and the United Arab Emirates is a strategic relationship and we will work to strengthen it, among other things through important tourism ties for the two countries.”

Cohen’s remarks came in response to comments made by Regev at a conference, in which she said, “I was in Dubai—not that I will go back there, I didn’t like the place.” At the same time, she praised the city for its transportation system.

Regev also attempted to smooth things over, tweeting out a video of herself on the phone accepting an invitation to again visit Dubai from UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja.

“A few minutes ago,I spoke with my friend, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed Al Khaja. @AmbAlKhaja He also understood what the media was trying to do, to take things out of context. The attempt to create conflict between the countries became an invitation for another visit,” tweeted Regev.

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