The UAE-Israel peace deal obliges us to heal
The historic accord between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is the onset of a seismic shift in the Middle East. Countries that had formerly experienced a strong disconnect and even rivalry open a new chapter, one of allyship, peace and cooperation. It is critical we make sure this change does not remain confined to the Middle East; the influence of Middle East conflicts has created discord between Jews and Arabs around the world, and this peace should ripple just as widely. This historic opportunity obligates us to seize this window of opportunity and build stronger bonds between our communities worldwide.
For all too long, conflict in the Middle East, between Israel and Arab nations have created a binary narrative of rivalry: Jews vs. Arabs. This tragic narrative spanned far beyond the Middle East. With the backdrop of war and conflict, Arabs and Jews around the world learned to become suspicious of one another and did their best to avoid each other. This suspicion and avoidance trickled down to one generation too many. This unprecedented and unparalleled peace accords between Israel and the Emirates offer an incredible opportunity of restoring thousands of years of shared history and many shared values.
The Emirati-Israeli model for peace is a pragmatic model built on working together, prioritizing a future with stability and real peace between Arabs and Jews. It is a paradigm shift, focusing on practical collaboration and future thinking, leading the way for others in the pursuit of peace. The Emirati initiative normalizing relationships with Israel can serve both as a model and an introduction to a better future for us and other generations.
Jewish and Arab communities everywhere must seize this opportunity to begin a long-due process of healing and reconciliation. We must make sure we don’t cling to the past’s miseries, but rather embrace the opportunities of the future. As the world of social media and information technology transforms the world, Jews and Arabs can now form better friendships, learn about one another and communicate directly with each other, but our past history has prevented many from taking advantage of the ability to reach out.
Jewish and Arab diaspora communities should get to know one another better, plan for travel to Israel and the UAE, and pursue more business. School children must be taught that a new chapter in our history has begun and that no door is ever closed to peace. Clergy, teachers, community leaders, cultural and spiritual influencers must all lead by example and create stronger grassroots bonds between our communities. The UAE-Israel peace agreement shows that we need not remain chained by past rivalries —- we must embrace a future of peace and coexistence.
Jews and Arabs around the world must follow the tides of peace and take a community-based approach to builder stronger bonds with one another. Now is the time for Arabs and Jews to acknowledge one other, respect our religious and cultural differences and learn how to live our differences, with friendship and respect. Lord Jonathan Sacks describes this, in his book “The Dignity of Difference,” as the need to live with one another in harmony, without looking to change one another.
It is time for Jews and Arabs worldwide seize this opening and to change the way we interact and start seeing each other as partners rather than foes. Arabs and Jews must join hands and work together, something that is sure to benefit our -— and next — generations. We must all lead a new young generation of Arabs and Jews to embrace a new world, ready to confront its challenges -— together.
Hasan Al Mujaini is Financial Cost Analyst specializing in digital transformation, and activist for peace and regional reconciliation. Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Rabbi Elchanan Poupko is an author, teacher, and rabbi from New York City. He is the president of EITAN-The American Israeli Jewish Network.