UAE Jewish leader says state can be ‘beacon for Jews all around the world’
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

UAE Jewish leader says state can be ‘beacon for Jews all around the world’

Ross Kriel tells Limmud's virtual festival the country should be praised for its 'vision of a pluralist Islamic society based on the Quran’s notion of tolerance'

Ross Kriel speaking at Limmud, with an inset picture of his community's activities
Ross Kriel speaking at Limmud, with an inset picture of his community's activities

The UAE’s most senior Jewish leader yesterday argued the Arab nation was ready to become a “beacon for Jews all around the world.”

Ross Kriel, President of the Jewish Council of the Emirates, praised the Emiratis for working incredibly hard to develop a “vision of a pluralist Islamic society based on the Quran’s notion of tolerance, which the UAE has piloted, thought about and conceptualised.”

He called upon the Jewish community to “similarly reimagine itself in a fundamental way, in terms of how we relate to Muslims and ourselves as well.”

The United Arab Emirates’ Jewish community was founded in 2010, with inclusivity and hospitality serving as mainstay values. The subsequent decade has seen the community grow exponentially, now numbering close to 400 people.

Kriel argued that his community was unique because of its “extraordinary diversity”.

“When defining who a Jew is, we do it in the most inclusive possible way,” he explained. “This allows Jews from all walks of life to be involved in our structures and to be elected as leaders in our community.”

Ross Kriel speaking at Limmud

“We also have many expats in our community, giving us a real soup of the Jewish world!”

Joining Kriel for the virtual Limmud session, attended by over 250 people, was Jessica Katz, a former JDC Fellow placed in Dubai for three months.

“Prior to my placement (in August 2019), I had no idea there were Jews in Dubai at all. When I arrived, I saw a real opportunity to grow a community with dedicated leaders,” she recalled.

“The Dubai Jewish community is also unique because of the lack of historical baggage. The ‘elders’ of the community have only been there for 10 years or so.”

Earlier this year, the Abraham Accords were signed between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. The statements marked the first normalisation of relations between an Arab country and Israel since the treaty with Jordan in 1994.

On the future of Dubai’s Jewish community, Kriel pressed the need for improved infrastructure: “We need funding to build and maintain Jewish schools, synagogues, places of learning and Kosher restaurants.

“However, we will miss a very valuable opportunity if we just do that. Most importantly, we have to focus on what this extraordinary moment means for us as Jews.

“The invitation is open to everyone to help engage with us in this historic opportunity, a new land for the Jewish people.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments