While European nations are see a huge rise in anti-Semitism, Israel is finding a friendlier reception in the Arab world. The United Arab Emirates is considering allowing Israelis to visit the Gulf nation as part of the World Expo, an international event that will be hosted in Dubai, according to an Israeli media report.
While the exception would be made for the event itself, the gesture has the potential to lead to a long-term exception for Israeli tourists, according to the news report.
Israel and the UAE have no official diplomatic relations, but the two nations do share economic ties and Israelis can get into the country on a foreign passport. In 2015, Israel opened a diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi.
Israel will have its own pavilion at the exhibition, which lasts for six months and showcases national technological achievements and innovations. The event occurs every five years.
“Israeli and the UAE’s authorities have been in talks for awhile, in order to allow those with Israeli passports to attend the Expo in Dubai,” a source within the Expo’s management team told Yedioth Ahronoth. “These talks are happening because both sides want to see the Expo turn into the biggest exhibition in the world, the UAE invested tremendous amounts of money and thought into the event and they want Israelis to be welcomed as well.”
A source said that after Expo, the UAE “might leave its doors open to Israeli tourists permanently.”
“I believe Israelis will come to visit even after the Expo,” Assistant Director of Tourism Mohamed Khater said. “Even now we have a few Israelis visiting us, and we will be happy to accommodate all Israeli tourists.”
Indeed, Israelis are intrepid travelers and, should permission be granted, the UAE could quickly become a popular destination for Israelis.
PM Neteyahu greets Team Israel who will compete in Robotic Olympics Photo: Koby Gideon GPO