Abu Dhabi instructs hotels to provide kosher meals following normalization

The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism said that hotels were “advised” to adopt the measure to guarantee that all visitors are catered for.

A GENERAL VIEW of the ADNOC headquarters and Emirates Towers in Abu Dhabi. (photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)
A GENERAL VIEW of the ADNOC headquarters and Emirates Towers in Abu Dhabi.
(photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)
Hotels in Abu Dhabi, one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates, have been instructed to provide kosher food to their guests. The UAE expects a surge in Israeli and Jewish visitors following normalization of ties with Israel.
Hotels have been “advised” to adopt the measure to cater to their guests’ needs, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism said Tuesday in a statement.
The department was “instructing all hotel establishments” to seek kosher certifications for the handling of kosher meals, designate an area in all kitchens for the preparation of kosher food and to label kosher menu items with a visible reference and recognizable symbol denoting the item is kosher, it said.
It was not clear whether the department’s message to hotels was a mandatory regulation or a recommendation. The UAE is ranked as a “not free” authoritarian country by the Freedom House democracy watchdog.
“Based on the commitment of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi to ensure certain foods are available for all visitors and tourists in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, please note that all hotel establishments are advised to include kosher food options on room service menus and at all food & beverage outlets in their establishments,” the statement said.
The tourism department is taking “extraordinary steps to welcome Jews and Israelis,” Sarah Besnainou, a member of Abu Dhabi’s Jewish community, said following the recent agreement to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE.
Having kosher food in hotels was entirely at the initiative of the Abu Dhabi authorities, who had not consulted with the local Jewish community on the issue, she said.
“The Emiratis have a lot of respect for religion and want Jews to feel comfortable in the country and to be able to find the food they need,” Besnainou said.
There are two kosher caterers in the UAE, one supervised by the Orthodox Union and one by Chabad.
When asked whether all Abu Dhabi hotels would be required to provide kosher food, a government official did not immediately respond.


Tags kosher UAE