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Israel hosts first Independence Day celebration in UAE

May 05, 2023

By Gabby Deutch

Some 600 people gathered at the event in the ballroom of a downtown Abu Dhabi hotel

More than 600 guests gathered on Thursday evening in the ballroom of a downtown Abu Dhabi hotel to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s national day. The event was Israel’s first official Independence Day celebration in the United Arab Emirates. 

The Israeli folk musician Miki Gavrielov was on hand to sing his most famous song, “Ani V’Ata,” which he recorded in 1970 with the late Israeli musical giant Arik Einstein. At Thursday’s party, Gavrielov performed the song — whose lyrics translate to “You and I will change the world” — with the Emirati singer Ahmed Alhosani. Earlier in the evening, Alhosani and the Israeli singer Nicole Raviv sang the national anthems of their respective countries together.

“It’s a very exciting moment for us. I think that that’s another step to be a normal country that has relations with the Emiratis here in Abu Dhabi,” Israeli Ambassador to the UAE Amir Hayek told Jewish Insider ahead of the celebration. Israel and the UAE normalized ties as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords.

“​​I hope that [Emiratis] will understand that Israel is their partner, and not for a short time, and not for a medium time. For a long time,” Hayek added. 

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