The president of the United Arab Emirates' Jewish Council welcomed the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, calling it a «very special feeling» during an interview at his home in Dubai, on Thursday.
«The Israelis are excited to come here, visit, to meet the Emirati people, and I believe that Emiratis are also very excited to go to Israel, to visit the holy sites, Al-Aqsa, in Jerusalem,» Ross Kriel said.
«It is a special feeling, what we do is the same, we've been praying here in the UAE for many years, but now we feel more confident to be Jewish in the UAE, and to tell people we're Jewish, and that's a very good feeling, a peaceful feeling, feeling of belonging, feeling of being at home, but what we do is the same.»
He added, «In the beginning years of our community it was not easy to find other Jews, and the founders of the community slowly built up a community, a small community, to come together to pray, to have festival and meals together. Now, especially with the Abrahamic Accord, it's much more easy to find people than before.»
The first official Jewish synagogue in the UAE is set to open its doors as part of a multifaith place of worship called the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, in which a mosque and a church will also be built, which will be completed in 2022. The authorities announced this complex, following the visit of Pope Francis to the Emirates, which was the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula.