Monday, January 17, 2022
FeaturesIsraelis find new playground in Dubai

Israelis find new playground in Dubai

Published: 31st Dec 2020 2:15 pm

Dubai: It was a scene that just a few months ago would have been unthinkable. As Emiratis in flowing white robes and headdresses looked on, the Israeli bride and groom were hoisted on the shoulders of skullcap-wearing groomsmen and carried toward the dance floor, where dozens joined the throng swaying and singing in Hebrew.

- Advertisement -

Noemie Azerad and Simon David Benhamou didn’t just throw a somewhat normal wedding bash in the middle of a pandemic that has shut down their country and ravaged the world. They were reveling in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which—like most of the Arab world—had been off-limits to Israeli passport holders for decades.

The pair was among tens of thousands of Israelis who had flocked to the UAE in December after the two countries normalised ties in a breakthrough U.S.-brokered deal.

“I expected to feel really uncomfortable here. I feel like it’s Tel Aviv. I hear Hebrew everywhere,” said 25-year-old Azerad, the Israeli bride. “I feel like it’s Tel Aviv. I hear Hebrew everywhere.” Her French father, Igal Azerad, said. In Dubai the sight of his kippah prompts “Emiratis to come up and tell me ‘Shalom'”.

A 12-foot (3.5-meter) Hanukkah candelabra appeared under the Burj Khalifa, where Jews gathered to light the candles and take selfies as festive Hebrew songs blared across the massive fountain downtown.

“Made in Israel” signs have popped up in Dubai’s chain grocery and liquor stores, which now sell wine from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.

Wine, honey and tahini from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank will hit the shelves in the coming weeks and be labeled products of Israel, according to a Dubai-based commodities company.

On social media, a trip to the UAE has become a status symbol for Israelis who display photos of themselves in Dubai.

Also Read

- Advertisement -

Latest News

- Advertisement -