Culture Minister virtually tours UAE’s first museum with Hebrew language

The Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai is unique for including in its collection Jewish artifacts from the history of the Middle East.

The Crossroads of Civilization Museum, Dubai (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Crossroads of Civilization Museum, Dubai
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper conducted a virtual tour of the Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai on Wednesday, hosted by Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori, a former member of the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council and Founder of the museum. It is the first museum accessible in the Hebrew language in Dubai, with brochures and descriptions in Hebrew.
Tropper said that culture has the ability to bridge gaps and bring people together. “I am happy about the fascinating tour that took place today and I am sure this is just the beginning of a fruitful cooperation between the cultural figures in Israel and the cultural figures in the UAE.”
The concept is to highlight the shared heritage of the region. The museum is unique for including in its collection historical Jewish artifacts of the Middle East. Visitors have remarked on its contribution to coexistence and tolerance, messages the UAE has highlighted in recent years and which underpin the Abraham Accords. The visit took place as the UAE celebrated its National Day. Al Mansoori guided the visitors through the museum, showing unique artifacts and historic documents.  
The virtual tour comes amid numerous visits between the Gulf and Israel as flights began last month. Al Mansoori is the founder of the Strategists Center, a research organization focused on geo-political affairs. He manages a consultancy and works with NGOs and corporations. He was a former member of parliament, called the Federal National Council, in the UAE. He played a role in the creation of the country’s space program and runs several museums, including the Historic Weapons Museum and the Manuscripts, old Prints and Books Museum. The Crossroads of Civilizations museum was highlighted Wednesday. He seeks to promote multiculturalism, tolerance and coexistence through the museums and his work.  
The visit showcased old maps of Jerusalem, a sword from the Yemenite Jewish community and a pre-Holocaust Ketuba. He also has a unique ornate curtain from the era of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman that once covered the door of the Ka’aba in Mecca. In addition, the museum includes original letters of Zionist Theodor Herzl. With brochures in Hebrew, explanations in Hebrew and a website soon to be launched, the museum is expected to be easily accessible to Israeli and Hebrew speakers. Al Mansoori said he has had Jewish guests over the years, done a multi-faith prayer at the site and is proud of the Mezuzah on one of the doors of the museum.
The museum is housed in a prominent historic home and along with his other two museums has some 27,000 items over 23,000 square feet. The home has a pleasant courtyard and the museum is open from 8am. to 8pm. every day except Friday when it is open by appointment. The Israeli minister watched as Al Mansoori walked from one exhibit to the next. Of particular interest was a book showing plans for a Haifa-Baghdad railway and also a bowl with Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic inscriptions. The museum is getting positive feedback. “It’s our role to translate the peace agreement to reality because through history and culture and religion we can add value,” he said.
The peace agreement between two leaders at the political and diplomatic level is a sign of our commitment to peace. Everyone involved, in his or her specialty, is trying to expand this peace from the political and diplomatic level to other fields and the most important is the cultural sector “which is the true glue between nations and people.” This includes values such as hospitality, mutual respect and acceptance of multiculturalism, “all the values we share as Jews and Arabs. The best thing is that when you communicate with people in their language it is a sign of respect. We don’t impose our language, we try to learn from others and also make it easy for our Israeli friends and beloved guests from Israel to feel at home; and that is my sign of hospitality,” he said.  
The visit was facilitated by Potomac Strategy, a consulting firm owned by Eitan Charnoff, which has been doing work focused on the GCC and Arab world in the fields of business, philanthropy, and strategy for a number of years.
The fact that this museum has had this collection for years is a clear demonstration of the deeply tolerant and warm society that has been the UAE for a long time, a former visitor said. ‘For those who have spent significant time there, all this peace deal does is formalize something that has been a fact on the ground for a long time. The Emirates are accepting and welcoming to all.”
The virtual tour is expected to be followed by more potential partnerships with cultural and historic institutions in Israel and more visits by officials.