I was never very much into politics, though I’m more informed on it now than I once was. I’m rather more passionate about culture and society.

When I was 11, I became more interested to learn about the world, countries and my region. I started learning about Israel around that time.

First, I can’t speak for all the people in my country. Some like Israel, some don’t and some are neutral. Personally, I didn’t quite have the misconceptions regarding the Jewish state that Israelis and Jews might think an Arab would have. I was even ignorant about it, because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not an interest of my parents or my school, so the topic barely came up.

I started learning by myself about the history of Jewish people and Judaism first. I learned that being Jewish is also a peoplehood. And I learned about the connection to the land (Israel).

I also learned how Israel is very multicultural, multi-ethnic and very diverse, which is what I love, coming from a country that has more than 200 nationalities living in it. And to summarize, like that it became clear for me and I simply understood.

I’m pro-Israel because I do not have a reason to hate the country, and I don’t look for one. Every country has its flaws, including Israel, but its existence is not one of them. Simple as that.

I still haven’t fully processed that one of my all-time dreams has come true. I’ve been active on social media for the past year. I made many Jewish and Israeli friends, talking about my dream for our countries to work together. All of a sudden, after a busy day, I see the joint statement that U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted. I’m so shocked, happy and honored.

As an Emirati, what I truly hope for after establishing bilateral relations between our countries is for us to have real and warm relations. Not only between governments, but very much between the people as well. I don’t wish for merely a “cold peace,” which is only for preventing war. I would love for people on both sides to learn from each other, exchange ideas, become the best of friends, and most certainly break stereotypes.

It only makes sense for us to be the closest of allies in this region. After all, we are cousins.

Maryam AlZaabi is a 19-year-old student at Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi, majoring in history and international relations in French. You can follow her Twitter at: @MaryamAvia.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.