Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, officially dedicated Israel’s first ever embassy in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
The ceremony in Abu Dhabi was part of the historic first visit by an Israeli minister to the Gulf monarchy since Israeli-Emirati diplomatic relations were established last year.
“Israel wants peace with all of its neighbours”, Lapid said. “We aren’t going anywhere. The Middle East is our home and we’re here to stay, so we call on all countries in the region to recognise that and talk to us.”
Lapid also asserted that history is “made by people who […] are willing to change it, by people who prefer the future over the past. We are standing here today because we chose peace over war, cooperation over conflict.”
Lapid was joined by Emirati culture and youth minister, Noura Al Kaabi, who expressed “enthusiasm over what we hope will be the first of many high-level visits”.
The UAE and Israel, Al Kaabi continued, “have inspired others in the region to prioritise peace and stability on the path to a brighter future… and work toward a region that embraces human dignity for all, and inclusiveness and tolerance to prepare our children for a brighter future”.
Chabad rabbi Levi Duchman installed and said the blessing on the embassy’s mezuzah in the presence of local Jewish community representatives.
Israel’s ambassador to the UAE, Eitan Na’eh, has been in the country since January.