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Old vs New, Arab vs Jew, in the UAE

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30.11.2021

The United Arab Emirates is a country of dichotomies.

Old versus new, traditional versus modern, and rich versus poor are the contrasts that stand out on arrival. There are visual distinctions in the architecture, as you see short mud-brick buildings in the desert, compared to soaring skyscrapers in a modern downtown core, or the white, flowing kandura robes worn by Emirati men, versus the black counterpart worn by women.

The country’s approach to energy production is now oil versus renewables. Their place in the world is oriented East versus West. Their population is one of nationals versus a significant number of expats, and the climate differs tremendously hot versus cold, whether outside or in one of the numerous extravagant malls.

From November 12 to 21, I was in the UAE as a member of a delegation hosted by the UAE Embassy in Washington D.C. with the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps, the flagship program of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), the representative body of Jewish communities in 100 countries worldwide.

In August 2020, Israel and the UAE announced that they had entered into a comprehensive peace agreement, which included normalization of ties between them. Cooperation would be sought in the realms of security, technology, the environment, and diplomacy. It was the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab country since 1994’s peace with Jordan, and it was an agreement........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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