Gabi Ashkenazi on Monday greeted the United Arab Emirates' first ever official envoy to Israel, in what the foreign minister said was "a historic day for the Middle East".
Ambassador Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah landed at Ben Gurion Airport earlier this morning, some five months after the two nations signed a historic treaty to normalize relations.
The appointment of Al Khajah, who is both a high-ranking diplomat and a member of the UAE royal family, is seen in Jerusalem as a sign of the great importance the Emiratis attribute to their new relationship with Israel.
During a meeting in Jerusalem, the foreign minister congratulated the ambassador on his new post and emphasized the important role the UAE plays in leading the change in the Middle East.
"It's another historic day in the Middle East and a major step towards strengthening peace between nations and peoples," said Ashkenazi. "We have a historic opportunity to present a model of warm and comprehensive peace between our countries," he added.
"The opening of our foreign missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the opening of the UAE Embassy in Israel are critical in establishing bilateral relations and promoting peace."
Al Khaja, 40, said he was "very proud and honoured to be the first Emirati ambassador" to Israel, where, he said, he and his hosts were discussing "the model of how we operate".
"My mission here is to foster and develop this relationship...and we hope this will bring peace and prosperity to the people in the Middle East," he said.
At the end of the meet-and-greet between the foreign minister and the ambassador, a first working meeting was to take place between the embassy staff and Foreign Ministry team.
In the afternoon, the ambassador set to visit the President's Residence for the traditional presentation of the charter, while on Tuesday the envoy and his staff are expected to hold additional work meetings at the Foreign Ministry. The UAE delegation is also expected to visit the Yad Vashem Museum.
Reuters contributed to this report