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.
— Ambassador Amir Hayek (@HayekAmir) November 17, 2022
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.