DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates will begin teaching about the Holocaust in history classes in primary and secondary schools across the country, the UAE embassy in the US said on Monday.
The embassy provided no details on the curriculum and education authorities in the Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, did not immediately acknowledge the announcement on Monday.
The announcement comes after the UAE normalized relations with Israel in 2020 as part of a deal brokered by the administration of former US president Donald Trump.
“In the wake of the historic Abraham Accords, [the UAE] will now include the Holocaust in the curriculum for primary and secondary schools,” the embassy said in a tweet, referring to the normalization deal that also saw Bahrain and ultimately Morocco also recognize Israel.
Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, praised the announcement in her own tweet.
“Holocaust education is an imperative for humanity and too many countries, for too long, continue to downplay the Shoah for political reasons,” Lipstadt wrote, using a Hebrew word for the Holocaust. “I commend the UAE for this step and expect others to follow suit soon.”
The announcement comes ahead of a planned meeting of the Negev Forum Working Groups in Abu Dhabi this week, which grew out of the normalization accords. The meeting will see officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the UAE and the US attend. Egypt has diplomatically recognized Israel for decades.
The Holocaust saw Nazi Germany systematically kill six million Jews during World War II. Israel, founded in 1948 as a haven for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, grants automatic citizenship to anyone of Jewish descent.
Other Arab nations have refused to diplomatically recognize Israel over its decades-long military rule over land Palestinians want for a future state.
The announcement by the UAE also comes after it and other Arab nations condemned far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir for visiting the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem last week, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new right-wing government took office.
The condemnation has been speculated to be the reason for a delay in Netanyahu’s planned visit to the UAE, his first official visit, which had been slated to go ahead this month but has been postponed to February.