Orgs to send emissaries, launch initiatives to connect with UAE Jews

The WZO will send its emissaries, who will be the first permanent Jewish emissaries to an Arab country, and the ADL will collaborate with Jewish Council of the Emirates.

A United Arab Emirates (UAE) flag waves alongside an Israeli flag (photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTOPHER PIKE)
A United Arab Emirates (UAE) flag waves alongside an Israeli flag
(photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTOPHER PIKE)
The World Zionist Organization (WZO) will send its first permanent emissaries to be stationed in Dubai, making them the first Jewish emissaries to serve in an Arab country.
The normalization deal reached between the UAE and Israel in mid-August through the mediation of the Trump administration, opened up many new opportunities for Israelis and Emiratis, but those mostly targeted business and financial avenues. Never before was it possible to send Jewish permanent representatives to serve the Jewish community in an Arab country.
The pioneers chosen for the unprecedented mission are Yaacov and Zolty Eisenstein, who are married, and will establish and run a Jewish kindergarten in Dubai where they will teach the local community about the heritage of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
Yaacov and Zolty Eisenstein, WZO's permanent emissaries to Dubai. (Credit: Courtesy)Yaacov and Zolty Eisenstein, WZO's permanent emissaries to Dubai. (Credit: Courtesy)
They will also include establishing an Ulpan, a center for learning Hebrew, and will also include arranging events for Jewish holidays and traditional festivals.
While the WZO already established contact with the Jewish community in Dubai, and was even approached by the Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations of America with a request of exploring the possibility of sending emissaries to the UAE, the historic mission was only made possible after the normalization deal and a recent trip to Dubai be a US and Israeli delegation.
"This is an important milestone in the history of the Zionist Movement through all its years of existence. We will continue to operate in every way to strengthen the connection between the State of Israel and Jewish communities in the diaspora and to strengthen the Jewish identity of our people throughout the world, including tiny dispersed communities," Chairman of the WZO, Avraham Duvdevani said.
The announcement by the WZO marks a new phase in deepening the relations between Israel and the UAE, because it formally connects between Jewish communities that had mostly been disconnected before.
Another instance of reigniting this seemingly lost relationship between the Jewish community in Dubai and the global Jewish community, is the latest joint announcement made by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE), pointing at plans of exploring cooperation between the organizations.  
In the coming weeks, according to the announcement, the ADL and the JCE will launch research groups that will focus on finding ways of assisting the Jewish community in the UAE, with the end goal of monitoring extremism in the region and helping dismantle harmful stereotypes about Jews, Israelis, Americans, Muslims and Christians.
Recently, the Emirati Jewish community has also been subjected to a spike in manifestations of online hate speech, so ADL will advise on best practices for responding to hate on social media platforms.
The research groups will be chaired by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Council of the Emirates, who also serves as an adjunct professor at New York University and NYU Abu Dhabi.  
Rabbi Sarna said that he hopes that the normalization deal and the new cooperative initiative with ADL will help grow the relatively small Jewish community in the UAE.  
“Our vibrant community, the first new Jewish community established in centuries on Arab soil, is preparing to grow many times over in the wake of the landmark Abraham Accord. We are planning for a flourishing ‘lighthouse’ community, a platform open for interfaith engagement throughout the region. We anticipate the Jewish population will increase tenfold over the next three years and intend to do so along with ADL’s mentorship on a broad array of best practices,” Sarna said.