Jewish Agency, Keren Hayesod to start operations, summer camps in UAE

The representatives also spoke of sending a permanent Jewish Agency emissary to the UAE.

Members of Dubai's Jewish community celebrate Hanukkah 2014 in the UAE desert. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Members of Dubai's Jewish community celebrate Hanukkah 2014 in the UAE desert.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod announced Tuesday that they will begin operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following the normalization agreement between the two countries, according to a press release from the former.
The Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, CEO Amira Ahronoviz and Keren Hayesod World Chairman Sam Grundwerg spoke earlier with the UAE's Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Council of the Emirates Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, with all agreeing to provide services to the Jewish community in the UAE.
During the meeting, discussions were held over tools to encourage and foster Jewish communal life in the Gulf state, which may include Jewish education and even summer camps.
In addition, the representatives also spoke of sending a permanent Jewish Agency emissary to the UAE to aid in the development of communal activities.
“After years of operating with great discretion, on the margins of the global Jewish community, we are now ready to formally ‘get on the grid.’ This partnership with The Jewish Agency brings the interconnectedness we crave,” said Chief Rabbi Sarna, praising the opening of UAE-Israel relations.
Herzog also marked the occasion, saying: “Our wonderful conversation with Chief Rabbi Sarna took place on the day the historic Israeli-American delegation took off on an El Al plane to Abu Dhabi. A new chapter in the fascinating history of the Jewish people is being written as we begin working with the Jewish community in the Emirates.”
“We are delighted to start sharing our programming with this diverse Jewish community, living in the heart of the Middle East. The recent historic peace agreement enables us to take this step and I hope one day soon, we will be able to do so in additional countries in the region,” Herzog added.
In light of the positive UAE-Israel developments, the press release noted that a special joint team consisting The Jewish Agency, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Federations of North America will be established in conjunction with Chief Rabbi Sarna to manage the communal life. It is estimated that 1,000 Jews live in the UAE, largely in the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“We are excited that after one hundred years of working together with the entire Jewish people, and working to preserve the ties between many dozens of Jewish communities and the State of Israel, now Keren Hayesod can officially work together with our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community of the United Arab Emirates,” said Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod.
“We are already looking forward to working together in all areas, including education, culture and community, and to deepening the special connection," Grundwerg added in a statement.