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Why Israelis flock to the Emirates

The normalization agreement with the Emirates was signed just a few weeks ago, but Israeli businesspeople, athletes and tourists are already flocking there.
Tourists gather at Abu Dhabi sea front before a heavy rain storm on March 9, 2016.
Schools in the United Arab Emirates were ordered to shut after rare heavy rain hit the desert Gulf state, causing flights to be suspended and flooding roads.

 / AFP / STRINGER        (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum was very excited as she returned from a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week. The deputy mayor of Jerusalem had all sorts of plans for relations between her city and the UAE. Hassan-Nahoum, who holds the foreign affairs, business development and tourism portfolios in the municipality, flew there to lay the groundwork for Muslim tourism to Israel, which is expected to grow exponentially as a result of the Abraham Accords. Jerusalem is already preparing for hundreds of thousands of Muslim tourists to flood the country once the coronavirus pandemic is finally over.

“These people really want a genuine, warm peace. They were so excited to host us,” Hassan-Nahoum told Al-Monitor, during a conversation that took place upon her return to Israel. During her five-day visit to Dubai, she met with dozens of businesspeople and senior government officials. “I’ve never been received so warmly anywhere else in the world. We will see the economic benefits of this peace very soon. Israel and the UAE have the two most advanced economies in the Middle East. This will open new worlds for us and tourism will be a powerful economic engine of growth.”

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