Abraham Accords have moved UAE-Israel relations “from darkness into the light,” says Israeli ambassador
March 09, 2022
Normalization was vital to the “peace and prosperity of future generations,” the UAE Minister of Economy said
The historic normalisation of UAE-Israeli relations in 2020, known as the Abraham Accords, has served to illustrate the values that the two countries share, officials from both nations said.
“The Abraham Accords gave us an opportunity to move our relation from darkness into the light, and this is very significant … thanks to the courage of the great leaders of the UAE,” the Israeli Ambassador to the UAE, Amir Hayek said during a conversation with Abdulla Bin Touq, Minister of Economy, UAE last week.
Hayek noted that his relocation to Abu Dhabi was almost nostalgic in nature, stating: “My parents were born in Iraq, and so my childhood was immersed in Arabic culture, language and music. When I came to the UAE, I felt like I had come to visit my cousins. I felt I had come home.”
The two officials were conversing during an event held at the Capital Club in the Dubai International Financial Centre on Monday last week. The conversation was moderated by Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, COO of the Dubai Financial Services Authority.
“When my nine-year-old daughter asked me about the Abraham Accords, I told her this was for the peace and prosperity of future generations, for the youth of both our nations. This is vital and very important,” Bin Touq said.
A partnership beyond business
While Bin Touq highlighted that the impact of the Abraham Accords on business has already been significant – around $1.4bn in the last 18 months according to the minister, the impact of normalisation “is more than financial. This partnership is vital on many levels.”
“We will see more connectivity and some big airlines are going to announce direct flights soon. We cannot prosper trade, businesses, and technology without getting people moving between the two nations,” said Bin Touq.
Hayek added that since the airspace between the two countries opened, over 300,000 Israelis have visited the UAE.
“We would like to see more Emiratis visit Israel, and with our summer being cooler, this is good to spend your holiday,” the ambassador quipped.
On a more serious note, Hayek explained the importance of people meeting and connecting through tourism to learn about each other’s culture and increase trust.
“The rest will come later. Business is built on trust and relationships. This is not a sprint, but a marathon and over time we will see a natural growth of Israeli and UAE companies,” the ambassador said.