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Ahead of expected influx of Israeli tourists, UAE hotel group offers kosher food

Habtoor Hospitality announces joint venture with Jewish caterer to provide OU Kosher food to guests

File: A view of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
File: A view of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

In the wake of the normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and after visiting Israeli journalists were served a kosher banquet, a number of hotels in the UAE will start to offer kosher food, the English-language Khaleej Times reported Thursday.

According to the report, the Habtoor Hospitality group has teamed up with Elli’s Kosher Kitchen to provide food for guests at hotels including the Hilton Dubai, V Hotel, Habtoor Palace Dubai, LXR Hotel and Resorts, Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection LLC, Metropolitan Hotel and Habtoor Polo Resort.

Elli’s Kosher Kitchen, a Dubai-based catering business owned by Elli Kriel, was responsible for food served to Israeli journalists and some members of a US delegation who visited Abu Dhabi this week. Kriel’s husband Ross is the president of the UAE’s small Jewish community.

“Al Habtoor City, Hotel Collection, along with its UAE sister properties, look forward to working with Elli and her team ensuring each guests visit is a memorable and enjoyable culinary journey,” the company said in a statement.

Chef Alex, Ross Kriel and Elli Kriel, posing for a photograph ahead of a dinner for Israeli journalists in Abu Dhabi, August 31, 2020 (courtesy)

According to the report, the food in the UAE hotels will be supervised by OU Kosher.

Rabbi Yissachar Krakowski of OU Kosher, the world’s largest kosher certification agency, had flown from Israel to the UAE to facilitate all of the kosher food for the Israeli delegation this week.

Krakowski has experience with kosher catering in the Gulf, having organized kosher meals for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations when they visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The report did not state whether the kosher catering at the UAE hotels would be under Krakowski’s supervision, or someone else.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced that it will henceforth allow flights from “all countries” to cross over its airspace on flights to or from the United Arab Emirates.

Israeli leaders indicated they understood this to mean that Israeli flights heading to the UAE will have a drastically reduced travel time, making it easier for Israeli tourists to visit the Emirates.

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