Israel and UAE face off in rugby in historic first friendly sports matchup

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin congratulated both teams in a tweet and said that Israel hopes to host the Emirati squad in Israel “very soon.”

ISRAEL RUGBY team member Vitali Primak sports his Provacan jersey during a recent competition (photo credit: YARIV VEINBERG/COURTESY)
ISRAEL RUGBY team member Vitali Primak sports his Provacan jersey during a recent competition
(photo credit: YARIV VEINBERG/COURTESY)
In what was likely the first-ever friendly sports match between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, their national rugby squads squared off Friday in Dubai.
In the first game, Israel defeated UAE 33-0. The teams mixed players for a second game.
The countries have warmed previously nonexistent relations since signing the Abraham Accords last year, which opened up formal diplomatic relations and trade, tourism and other agreements.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin congratulated both teams in a tweet and said that Israel hopes to host the Emirati squad in Israel “very soon.”
“While leaders may sign peace agreements, true peace requires people on both sides to build bonds of friendship and cooperation in every arena,” Rivlin wrote.
The Israeli team stayed in Dubai to celebrate and held an outdoor Shabbat ceremony captured by Khaleej Times writer Michal Divon.
https://twitter.com/michaldivon/status/1372979177406750742?s=20
Since the fall signing of the peace agreement, tens of thousands of Israelis have visited the Emirates.