Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have celebrated the Jewish festival of Hannukah and Emirati unification day together for the first time since they normalised relations via the Abraham Accords last summer.
“Hannukah in the UAE was eight days of miracles”, Rabbi Elie Abadie, the Jewish Council of the Emirates’ senior rabbi, said.
“As the Jewish community celebrated each night in a different place with pride of being Jewish and living in the UAE, we were joined by many Emiratis who came to celebrate with us”.
On 28 November, the first night of Hannukah, candles were lit at Israel’s Expo Dubai 2020 pavilion.
This was followed by dozens of Emiratis joining the local Jewish community to light the hannukiah and to mark the UAE’s 50th national day in Dubai.
This event was organised by Sharaka, an NGO founded to promote people-to-people relations between Israel and Arab countries with which it has normalised relations.
Events also took place in Israel, including an event in Herzliya attended by the first female Emirati student to study in Israel.
“From the land of peace and coexistence, the UAE, we wish all the Jews around the world a happy Hannukah.
Hannukah is about light and hope, and we wish for a better future for all the nations around the world in harmony and peace”, said Sharaka UAE CEO Majid Al Sarrah.
The UAE’s national day is celebrated on 2 and 3 December and marks the federal unification of the country in 1971.