Residents of Tel Aviv were treated Friday night to what appeared to be a visit of Emirati tourists flaunting snazzy cars and pumping the top hits from the UAE as they drove around the coastal city.
After queuing up to take photos with men donning the traditional Emirati kandurah robes and ghutra head-coverings, the Israeli revelers were let in on the joke — the visitors had not flown in from the Gulf, but had driven just 25 minutes from the Arab Israeli town of Kafr Qasim.
“We told them we were from Dubai, they took a picture with us and we immediately revealed to them that we were from Kafr Qassim,” Hamada Odeh, who initiated the prank, told Channel 12 news.
Footage of the group went viral.
נהנים מפירות השלום. pic.twitter.com/vl71BDmi0j
— Suleiman Maswadeh סולימאן מסוודה (@SuleimanMas1) December 4, 2020
With official delegations from both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain now regularly travelling to Israel, Odeh said he and his friends wanted to test how normal Israelis would respond to seeing the fruits of the normalization deals with the Jewish state.
“We wanted to see the reactions of people who see tourists from Dubai. All the responses were great,” he said.
“I believe that over time we will see a lot of tourists from the Emirates walking around here soon,” he added.
Two weeks ago, a flydubai plane landed in Dubai from Tel Aviv with some 200 Israelis on board for the return leg of the first commercial flight to Israel by the UAE’s state-owned airline.
Last month, Israel’s cabinet ratified a mutual visa exemption agreement with the UAE — the Jewish state’s first-ever such agreement with an Arab country.