Israel’s UAE embassy issues first-ever passport to baby born in Gulf country

Ambassador Hayek hails ‘exciting moment’; mother of newborn, who lives abroad with Belgian husband, says she insisted on getting son’s Israeli passport first

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

Israel's Ambassador to the UAE with Mateo David and his new Israeli passport, November 17, 2022 (via Twitter).
Israel's Ambassador to the UAE with Mateo David and his new Israeli passport, November 17, 2022 (via Twitter).

Israel’s embassy in Abu Dhabi issued the first-ever Israeli passport to a citizen born in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

Hailing the “exciting moment,” Ambassador Amir Hayek personally handed the passport to the parents, who welcomed their son Mateo David in May this year.

The mother, Danielle, is married to a Belgian. “Because I am a Zionist, I said to my husband I want to get the Israeli passport and the Belgian one after,” she told the Ynet news site.

“Here in the United Arab Emirates, there is a great appreciation for Israel. I receive a lot of respect when I say I am Israeli. I’m proud to be here and to say it,” she added.

The daughter of Ilan Sztulman Starosta, who heads Israel’s first consulate in Dubai, was the first Israeli to be born in the UAE last year. At that time, Israeli passports could not be issued in the Gulf country.

Israel and the UAE normalized diplomatic relations in 2020 after signing the US-brokered Abraham Accords, alongside Bahrain. Morocco separately forged full diplomatic ties with Israel shortly after, while Sudan signed on to the deal as a symbolic move, and has yet to officially formalize ties with Jerusalem.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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