Academic institutions in Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed their first agreement to date for academic cooperation, further strengthening ties between the two countries, reported The Jerusalem Post.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on March 10 by Israel’s Younes and Suraya Nazarian Library of the University of Haifa and the UAE’s National Library and Archives (NLA).

The partnership will focus on the exchange of researchers, experts and collections; archival research; access to library resources; and joint events and conferences. Many materials that were previously blocked to Israeli researchers and vice versa will now be accessible through the agreement, noted JPost.

The MoU was signed by the university’s president Professor Ron Rubin; NLA director Abdullah Majed El Ali; university library director Naomi Gardinger; and Professor Dafna Raban, academic director of the library.

“We hope that the agreement will also lead to … cultural events around common areas of interests,” said Moran Zaga, head of the Middle East Department at the University of Haifa.

The UAE also expressed interest in access to Israel’s library materials, digitization processes and innovative digital humanities developed at the University of Haifa.

“We see the new connection as an opportunity to enrich collections and informational collaboration, which will serve the populations of researchers in both countries,” said Gardinger.

Israel and the UAE normalized relations through the Abraham Accords in September 2020.

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