The United Arab Emirates’ first ambassador to Israel, Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah, presents his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin.
Upon his arrival at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, Al Khajah is greeted with a musical reception and a red carpet.
Rivlin welcomes him in Arabic, before continuing his remarks in Hebrew.
“This is a moving ceremony for me, as president of Israel,” says Rivlin. The president adds that it’s personally emotional for him, noting his late father’s love of Arabic and translation of the Quran into Hebrew.
“Our countries have a shared ethos: A small country committed to turning arid land into a flourishing garden, against all the odds,” says Rivlin.
Ties between Israel and the Emirates were developed quietly over a long time, says Rivlin. “We believed that if we waited patiently, the right time would come in which we would be able to take our ties a step forward. To deepen the friendship between us. To make it public.”
Rivlin says it’s a “terrific day, in which the Emirati flag flies alongside the Israeli flag over the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.”
“The entire Israeli nation is moved and welcomes you, gladly,” he adds.
“Leaders sign deals, but real peace, lasting peace — [that] peace is made ‘people to people,’ face to face,” says Rivlin, wishing him luck in his new diplomatic role.
Al Khajah will spend several days in the country, during which time he will reportedly meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials, as well as scout out suitable locations for the embassy and his home.