search

UAE to open Israel embassy in Tel Aviv on Wednesday

President Herzog to attend ceremony, which comes weeks after Lapid inaugurates missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

The UAE's first ambassador to Israel, Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah, arrives to presents his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on March 1, 2021. (Mark Neyman/GPO)
The UAE's first ambassador to Israel, Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah, arrives to presents his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on March 1, 2021. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

The United Arab Emirates will open its embassy in Israel on Wednesday, with President Isaac Herzog attending the historic event.

The embassy will be situated in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building, also known as the Bursa.

The ceremony, hosted by UAE’s ambassador to Israel, Mohammad al Khaja, will include a reception, flag raising, ribbon-cutting ceremony, and VIP tour.

In late June, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid officially inaugurated Israel’s consulate in Dubai, calling it a center of dialogue and cooperation.

He had opened Israel’s embassy in Abu Dhabi the day before, hailing the “historic moment” as a time “we chose peace over war.”

A stock market ticker screen in the empty lobby of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, March 15, 2020. (Flash90)

While in Abu Dhabi, Lapid went out of his way to thank former prime minister and political rival Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he called “the architect of the Abraham Accords and who worked tirelessly to bring them about.” He also expressed his gratitude to former US president Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden.

The UAE was represented at the Dubai ceremony by Emirati Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence Omar Sultan Al Olama.

Emirati Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence Omar Sultan Al Olama (L) and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) at the opening of Israel’s new consulate in Dubai, June 30, 2021. (Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)

Lapid was in the United Arab Emirates for the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the Gulf state, although the country has unofficially hosted Israeli ministers in the past, including then-transportation minister Israel Katz and sports minister Miri Regev.

The trip came nearly a year after Israel and the UAE announced they would normalize ties, and after months during which planned visits by Israeli officials were stymied by a series of issues, ranging from health crises to diplomatic scuffles.

Israel and the Emirates announced in August 2020 that they would normalize diplomatic relations, bringing over a decade of covert ties into the open. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco later also joined the US-brokered Abraham Accords, and other countries were also rumored to be in talks, though none has come to fruition.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report. 

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed