Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, December 8, 2021


The Media Line: The Abraham Accords One Year Later: Shaping a Common Future (Opinion)

The Abraham Accords One Year Later: Shaping a Common Future

By Fleur Hassan-Nahoum/The Media Line 

Two weeks ago, at the end of a fairly standard meeting in City Hall with a group of east Jerusalem businessmen, Mahmoud, a local entrepreneur, pulled me aside. He told me that as the result of his attendance at one of the webinars organized by the UAE-Israel Business Council, an organization I co-founded over one year ago, he now has a promising new business with an Emirati investor which utilizes Israeli technology and Moroccan raw materials.

At that very moment I truly understood the power of people-to-people peace. This is the new model of peace and co-existence we are building every day. Up until now, Israel was a lone player in the region and we were not part of any regional cultural, sporting or business alliances. Our network faced west rather than to our own neighborhood, where we share much in common.

This past year has changed everything. In June 2020, my co-founder Dorian Barak and I saw that a shift was taking place, but we did not know just how quickly it would boom. The minute the Abraham Accords normalization agreement was announced, we created an online platform for people to connect, the first of its kind for the accords. Within weeks thousands of Israelis and Emiratis had joined in order to interact with each other, to talk, to do business and to become friends. I cannot overestimate the enthusiasm on all sides of those early days. At the time, I was quoted as saying that it felt like we were dating. The initial curiosity about each other, our religions, cultures, and even how we raise our kids, helped us realize how similar we actually are.

Despite this past year being a pandemic year with lockdowns and essentially a closed airport, nearly a billion dollars in trade between Israel and the UAE will have taken place by the end of the calendar year. Nearly a quarter of a million Israeli tourists visited the UAE this past year and, by my estimation, that number will continue to grow in year two.


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