Jerusalem Dep. Mayor calls on gov't to welcome Gulf Muslims

While visiting Dubai, she realized that there is a tremendous interest from some of the UAE’s largest companies and institutions to do business in Israel.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum meets with UAE businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum meets with UAE businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the wake of her trip to the UAE, where she met with government and business leaders in a variety of sectors including tourism, Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum called on Israel’s government on Thursday afternoon to change airport protocols and to increase Temple Mount's security as Israel prepares to welcome Muslim tourists from the Gulf following the Abraham Accords.
Hassan-Nahoum recently returned from a successful week of meetings in Dubai representing the city and as the co-founder of the newly-formed UAE-Israel Business Council. 
During her visit, she realized how interested some of the UAE’s largest companies and institutions were to do business in Israel. 
For these partnerships to become concrete, she insisted on welcoming visitors from Muslim countries to Israel warmly.
“I hope that Muslim tourism will become as significant as Christian tourism is to us," she said. "But that will only happen if we do our part to assure their security and comfort during their stay."
"Therefore," she continued, "preparations must be made for the employees of the Border Authority – including guidelines for the entry of tourists from the Gulf countries, adapting the questions they are asked at the airport which connect to the cultural elements of the Gulf, recruiting Arabic speakers to the border crossings and a basic historical and cultural understanding of these countries.
“Early preparations will prevent misunderstandings and make it easier and more comfortable for visitors.”
She added, “I welcome the opportunity to participate in a task force with different parts of government including the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Internal Security and the Interior Ministry to address this pressing need.”
Hassan-Nahoum also called on the government to increase the Temple Mount's security following what happened earlier this week when a UAE delegation was accosted while visiting the sacred site.
Indeed, Shadi Mtour, a Fatah leader from east Jerusalem, accused the Gulf visitors of “storming al-Aqsa Mosque,” a phrase regularly used by Palestinians to describe tours by Jews to the Temple Mount.
Mtour said the visit “was not different from the repeated incursions of the occupation soldiers and settlers, who desecrate al-Aqsa under the protection of the occupation soldiers, during which attacks are carried out on worshipers and Jerusalem residents.”
He added that “any [Arab] delegation visiting Jerusalem through the gates of the occupation is not welcome.”
During the visit, the police detained three Muslim worshipers who chanted slogans denouncing the Emirati visitors: As’ad Ajjaj, Amjad al-Sumari and Ahmed Sublaban.   
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.