Rivlin hails UAE’s ‘oasis in the desert’ as its first envoy arrives in Israel

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Rivlin hails UAE’s ‘oasis in the desert’ as its first envoy arrives in Israel

Mohamed Mahmoud Fateh Ali Al Khaja, the first envoy from the UAE since diplomatic relations began last year, was greeted by Israel’s head of state in Arabic

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

President Reuven Rivlin accepts credentials from the UAE's first ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Mahmoud Fateh Ali Al Khaja
President Reuven Rivlin accepts credentials from the UAE's first ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Mahmoud Fateh Ali Al Khaja

Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin spoke in Arabic to welcome the first ambassador to be posted in his country from the United Arab Emirates.

Mohamed Mahmoud Fateh Ali Al Khaja presented his letter of credence during the formal ceremony on Monday, which took place in the hall of the Beit HaNassi, the Israeli president’s official residence.

Al Khaja, who was formally appointed last month, is the first diplomatic envoy from the UAE since diplomatic relations were established with Israel in September 2020.

Rivlin welcomed him by referring to Jerusalem as al Quds, as it is known in Arabic, in addition to its Hebrew name.

“We look in wonder at the oasis in the desert that you have created,” he said.

“The Emirati leadership has established, with wisdom, innovation and sense, a state that seeks peace, a hub for technology, economic development and tourism, a place that looks ahead.”

He continued: “You should know that not only I am moved. The entire Israeli people welcomes you with joy, and opens its arms to you to welcome you to us.

“There are so many things we can do together, Israelis and Emiratis, to advance our peoples and the whole Middle East, to a time of regional cooperation, mutual respect, prosperity and peace.”

Al Khaja later met Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

Israel’s current ambassador to the UAE is Eitan Na’eh and will be temporarily stationed in Abu Dhabi until a permanent location is found.

Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have also normalised relations with Israel in the last year.

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