UAE-Israel Business Council invites UAE, Bahrain businessmen to Jerusalem

Israel and the UAE have already signed several commercial deals since mid-August, when they first announced they would establish full relations.

Three children overlooking the Old City of the Jerusalem from the rooftop perch of the King David Hotel (photo credit: Courtesy)
Three children overlooking the Old City of the Jerusalem from the rooftop perch of the King David Hotel
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Following the Knesset approval of the UAE-Israel accords and the planned arrival of the first official United Arab Emirates delegation in Israel, the UAE-Israel Business Council invited Emiratis and Bahrainis with a photo of the three countries' flags overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem from the top of the King David Hotel.
"The Abraham Accords were reached not only for us but more importantly for our children. It’s about creating a new Middle East for their future – one in which they can thrive – and we felt it was important that they be included in this historic moment," said Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor and co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council Fleur Hassan-Nahoum. "Jerusalem is significant to both Islam and Judaism, and with this photo, we cordially invite our friends from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to come and visit our beloved city."

The spot in which the photo was taken is significant on its own. The King David Hotel has hosted royalty since well before the establishment of the State of Israel, with a guest list including King Abdullah I; Charles, Prince of Wales; the dowager empress of Persia; and the queen mother Nazil of Egypt, as well as celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Gere and Madonna, and presidents and other heads of state such as Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.
Many of the more famous guests' names and signatures are etched along the floors, marking their stay.
Three heads of state that were forced into exile even took up residence at the luxurious establishment, including King Alfonso XIII of Spain, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and King George II of Greece. The latter ran his government in exile from the hotel after he was forced out the country along with the Nazi occupation of Greece in 1942.
The UAE delegation to Israel took off on Tuesday as the two countries look to broaden cooperation after normalizing ties last month under a US-brokered accord, forged largely over shared fears of Iran.
An Etihad Airways plane carrying Emirati government officials, with US dignitaries accompanying them, left the UAE capital Abu Dhabi and headed to Ben-Gurion Airport, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.
Israeli officials said the visit would be restricted to the airport due to coronavirus concerns.
The UAE and fellow Gulf state Bahrain in September became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to sign deals to establish formal ties with Israel, a move that Washington and its allies have said would foster regional peace and stability but which has been rejected by the Palestinians.
The Emirati delegation is led by Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq al-Mari and Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid al-Tayer, a UAE foreign ministry spokeswoman tweeted.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Middle East envoy Ari Berkowitz are joining them on the trip, after having accompanied an Israeli delegation to Bahrain on Sunday for a signing ceremony to formalize ties.
Israel and the UAE have already signed several commercial deals since mid-August, when they first announced they would establish full relations.
Israeli officials said the two sides were expected to sign a mutual visa-exemption agreement - Israel's first with an Arab country.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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