“The Abraham Accords changed our language and the entire terrain of the Middle East for the better.” In a prerecorded video address, Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, hailed the significance of the landmark agreement and The Jerusalem Post and Khaleej Times sponsored event in Dubai, suggesting that just a short time ago, the very idea of a joint conference of this type being held in Dubai would have been considered an impossibility. “This was something that Arabs and Jews could only dream of in the past, but now it is a reality,” said Lauder.
Lauder noted that the Global Investment Forum was a timely event in light of the recent violence in the Middle East, given “the trauma that both Israelis and Palestinians have suffered over the past few weeks.”
Lauder said that the vast majority of Arabs and Jews in the Middle East want to live in peace, noting that their priorities are in providing a safer world, better education and improved economic opportunities for their children.
Achieving these goals, he said, cannot be accomplished through retaliation and conflict. “It can only come from peace and harmony between nations.”
In his travels throughout the Middle East, Lauder said, he has learned that most people have the same concerns, hopes, and fears. “The greatest investment that we can make is in education and technology,” he said, stating that education should be a joint venture between Israel and the Arab countries. Lauder suggested that Jews and Arabs should learn about the history and culture of both peoples and sit together in classrooms and universities. “Let the Middle East be known not for conflict but for technology and creativity,” he added. “This will only happen with partnerships with Israel.”
Lauder lauded Forum attendees, calling them “bridge builders” and people “who understand that salaam and shalom have the same meaning and carry the same message – one of hope, and not fear.” He encouraged people throughout the region to maintain an honest and open dialogue with each other and that through those efforts, they can gain a greater understanding of each other. He added that the building of a Jewish school in Dubai furthers the bold and inclusive steps that the UAE is taking as a leader in the cause of peace.
“After everything,” said Lauder, “I continue to hope and work for a two-state solution for the Palestinians and Israelis so that future generations will no longer live in fear and mistrust. I know one simple fact – neighbors living productively together in dignity, peace, and prosperity is better than any alternative.”
Lauder concluded his remarks by stating that Israelis and Emiratis can accomplish a great deal together in times of friendship and peace, Lauder noted. “All of us involved in this conference have to work against the agents of pessimism. I am an optimist.”
This article was written in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress.