On March 28th, UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah posted a Passover greeting which called “for celebrating the holiday’s themes of freedom and new beginnings.”
On this Passover week, let us all celebrate the universal ideals of freedom and hopeful new beginnings. We have much to rejoice and look forward to. Happy Passover and Chag Sameach. See you soon Israel.
— Mohamed Al Khaja (@AmbAlKhaja) March 28, 2021
He posted it both in English and Hebrew.
Al Khajah is still not in Israel. In early March he completed a short preliminary visit to Israel during which he met with the country’s top leadership and scouted out suitable locations for the embassy and his home.
He met with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told him:
“We are changing the Middle East, we are changing the world.”
The message came after the Israeli Embassy to the United Arab Emirates held its first Passover seder on March 27th.
Ambassador Eitan Na’eh shared a moment from the festive evening which recalls the Israelite exodus from Egypt, tweeting a video of participants singing the traditional “Ma Nishtana.”
“Ma nishtana” the timeless words of the Passover night. What is different this night of all other nights? Well here it is: the first Seder of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE, under the starry skies pic.twitter.com/XHellexdyi
— Eitan Na'eh (@AmbassadorNaeh) March 27, 2021
Na’eh arrived in the UAE in January to fill the post of Israel’s first-ever envoy to the Gulf state, following last year’s normalization agreement between the countries.
Na’eh said that he saw a bright — and cheaper — future ahead for Israelis as ties develop.
“The UAE is an opening to a huge market, huge ports, with very big free trade zones,” he said. “There are huge advantages for Israeli trade, be it imports and also exports, for lowering the cost of living.”
Na’eh said Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi’s goals for the relationship were both “wide and specific.”
“Get to know the place,” he says he was told. “Get to know the issues. Map the issues. Map those individuals we need to be in touch with, then go and meet them. Enhance, increase cooperation in all possible areas… Develop the dialogue on all levels.”
Israel and the UAE signed a US-brokered normalization agreement at the White House on September 15, 2021. The move was followed by normalization agreements with Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
This move signals that the Palestinians have been all but forgotten, and the promise of profit, and potential assistance in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, in addition to other bilateral projects between the UAE and Israel is much more important.
The Passover celebrations, as well as the greeting are also part of the push by the UAE and Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia to form the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities, which is aimed to improve the life of Jewish people in the “Arab Gulf”, as they call it to spite Iran.
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