After Transportation Minister Miri Regev’s speech earlier today — disastrous timing for Israeli diplomacy — saying she did not like visiting Dubai and would not be going back to the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen rushes to do some damage control.
Cohen releases a video from Warsaw, where he is finalizing an agreement on the return of Israeli youth Holocaust trips to the country, in which he emphasizes that “Dubai is a wonderful place to visit, and it’s no coincidence that more than 1 million Israelis have chosen to visit Dubai as well.”
Cohen stresses that Israel’s relationship with the United Arab Emirates is strategic, and that Israel will continue to working to strengthen it.
וכך גם מיליון ישראלים שביקרו באיחוד האמירויות הערביות בשנת 2022
— אלי כהן | Eli Cohen (@elicoh1) March 22, 2023
Israel’s top diplomat also tweets a photo of himself shaking hands with UAE President Mohamed Bin Zayed, with the text “I <3 Dubai.”
Israeli tourism to the UAE has been one of the successes of the relationship since the 2020 Abraham Accords, providing an influx of badly needed visitors while many countries restricted citizens from flying there during the height of the COVID pandemic.
Israel-UAE relations have hit a rough patch in recent months, as frustration over statements from right-wing ministers and growing violence in the West Bank has pushed Abu Dhabi to tap the brakes on public visits by senior officials and high-profile agreements.