Israel ceremonially opens its gleaming pavilion at the world’s fair in Dubai, more than a year after normalizing ties with the United Arab Emirates.
The pavilion’s arch — chock-full of flashy videos promoting Israel’s windmills, high-tech advances and historic sights — comes to life as night falls. Zany Hebrew music plays and patriotic balloons float — all within eyesight of the Palestinian pavilion nearby.
“I am delighted to invite all of you to come and visit my country,” Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov tells the crowd of revelers after cutting the ribbon.
Israeli officials, in Dubai to cement ties after the two countries inked a long-awaited visa waiver agreement this week, traipse through the mirrored pavilion, their reflections unfolding around them. Emiratis in traditional floor-length white dress gaze at panoramic views of Jerusalem’s Old City gliding across vertical screens as a pop rendition of Shalom Aleichem played.
“It’s not only [about] pavilions and the physical site,” Noam Katz, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, says of the Israeli presence at Dubai’s Expo. “It’s power gathering.”