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Emirati parliamentarians make historic first visit to Israel’s Knesset 

Members of the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council also visit Yad Vashem 

Ali Rashid al Nuaimi, chairman of the Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee in the United Arab Emirates with Foreign Affairs Committee Ram Ben Barak at the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Knesset on Feb. 7, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

For the first time since the signing of the Abraham Accords, members of the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council (FNC) visited Israel's parliament, the Knesset, on Monday. 

The Emirati delegation met with Israeli lawmakers including Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid and Speaker of the Knesset Mickey Levy and attended a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. They were hosted by the Israel-UAE friendship group and the Knesset Caucus for Advancing the Abraham Accords.

"It is very important to look at the relationship as part of broader prospects – not only for security," said Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, who led the high-level delegation. 

Al Nuaimi is the chairman of the Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee in the UAE Federal National Council. He also serves as an Advisory Board member for ALL ARAB NEWS and as the first chairman of Hedayah – The International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism based in Abu Dhabi.

“We want to be an agent of change for the whole region. We want to have full engagement in all sectors with you. To promote peace, security, and stability. There is no way back from the Abraham Accords. No repeating of history. We want to create history. We want to engage with you in all sectors, in all speed,” Al Nuaimi added. 

Prior to their arrival at the Israeli Knesset, the Emirati parliamentarians paid a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel's national memorial to the Holocaust, in Jerusalem. The UAE delegation laid a wreath to honor the victims of the Jewish genocide.

Levy vowed to receive “fellow sons of Abraham with open arms.” 

He said that “the visit to Jerusalem, a city holy to Judaism and Islam, expresses peace and brotherhood among our nations and proof that it is possible to live in peace in the Middle East.”

The historic visit comes as the UAE faces security challenges following recurring terror attacks and threats by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett instructed the Israeli defense establishment to strengthen the security cooperation between the two countries. 

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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