Outside Dubai's Jewish School
Outside Dubai's Jewish School
Photo: UAE's Jewish community
Outside Dubai's Jewish School

The UAE's Jewish community thrilled over peace deal with Israel

The close relationship between UAE, Israel marked a positive change for Emirati Jewry who experienced dramatic changes over the past year; community leader invites Israelis to come visit

Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 08.16.20 , 20:48
After keeping a low profile for over two decades, the United Arab Emirate's Jewish community has reared its head several times over the past year on numerous occasions.
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  • The improving relations between Israel and the Gulf state has been felt in both countries, no more so then by the UAE's Jewish community, who has become much more free, vocal and prominent in the country.
    Outside Dubai's Jewish School Outside Dubai's Jewish School
    Outside Dubai's Jewish School
    (Photo: UAE's Jewish community)
    During June, the UAE's Jewish community released a prayer in Hebrew in honor of the leaders of the United Arab Emirates.
    A few days later, over a hundred of Dubai's Jews attended the biggest virtual Shabbat gathering the Arab world has ever seen, led by the UAE's chief rabbi, Yehuda Sarna, and the President of the Conference of European Rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt.
    In his first-ever interview with Israeli media, the leader of the UAE Jewish community Solly Wolf described to Ynet in great detail the everyday lives of some 2,000 Jews who live mainly in the capital of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
    Head of the UAE's Jewish community, Solly Wolf Head of the UAE's Jewish community, Solly Wolf
    Head of the UAE's Jewish community, Solly Wolf
    (באדיבות הקהילה היהודית איחוד האמירויות)
    "We were surprised by the timing, but we knew it was coming," said Wolf during a recent interview. "We have been feeling more free for a while now, but even more so now. We kept a low profile in the past, but over the past year, the authorities have given us permission to open synagogues."
    According to Wolf, the change in the way the Jewish community is perceived within the UAE is immense.
    "A few months ago, some might have had an issue if you were seen walking inside a mall with a yarmulke on your head," says Wolf. "Today there is no issue with that whatsoever. You see ultra-Orthodox Jews walking around the street with a Tzizit and no one says a thing."
     עם שליט דובאי וראש ממשלת איחוד האמירויות, השיח' מוחמד בין ראשיד אל מכטום עם שליט דובאי וראש ממשלת איחוד האמירויות, השיח' מוחמד בין ראשיד אל מכטום
    Wolf meeting with UAE prime minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
    (באדיבות הקהילה היהודית איחוד האמירויות)
    The agreement between Israel and the UAE means that travel between the two countries will finally be possible, and according to Wolf, the locals are very excited.
    "Just like the Israelis are excited to visit the Emirates, the people of the UAE are extremely happy they will now be able to visit Israel, Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock. They are also excited they will be able to welcome Israeli tourists and businesses without any problems."
    Wolf adds that the UAE also presents vast financial opportunities to Israelis.
    "Dubai is an emirate with a lot of money," says Wolf. "Israel is a country with vast technological accomplishments in agriculture, medicine, high-tech, cyber. Israel has many things for which they will find buyers here."
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