Israel top rabbi prays for safety of UAE rulers

Israeli top rabbi Yitzhak Yosef expressed his appreciation to the Emirati royal family and the government

Israel’s top Jewish rabbi inaugurated a Jewish nursery school in Dubai on Sunday and made a special Jewish ritual for the safety of the ruling family in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to Israeli media, Anadolu Agency reported.

The bolstering relationship between the UAE and Israel was underpinned at a ceremony on Saturday where the visiting Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi prayed especially to bless the rulers of the country for allowing different faiths to be practiced in the UAE.

The Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef arrived in the Gulf state on Thursday, marking his first visit to an Arab country.

The official Israeli Twitter account – Israel in Arabic – published photos for Rabbi Yosef while inaugurating the new Jewish school in Dubai.

As part of his visit, Rabbi Yosef named Levi Duchman as rabbi of the Jewish community in the UAE, and inaugurated a new synagogue in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, according to the Times of Israel newspaper.

During the socially distanced ceremony held at the Jewish Community Centre (JCC) in Dubai, Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef expressed his appreciation to the Emirati royal family and the government, for the warm relations, care for the Jewish community and the thriving ties between Israel and the UAE, following the historic Abraham Accords.

After the conclusion of the Sabbath, he said: “The survival of a Jewish community depends on its adherence to Torah values (God’s revealed teaching or guidance for the Jewish people) and Torah learning.”

The ceremony also marked the first certification granted to a synagogue in the Emirates, the Beit Tefillah Synagogue in Abu Dhabi, and invested Rabbi Levi Duchman as rabbi of the Emirati Jewish community.

The rabbi also met with UAE officials, including the ministers of tolerance, culture and health.

According to Israeli figures, some 3,000 Jews live in the UAE, mostly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Israel and the UAE signed a US-sponsored deal in September to normalize their relations, a move that was followed by Bahrain and Sudan, and recently Morocco.

The normalization agreements have drawn widespread condemnations from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.