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The Head of Israel’s National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat. ( Hamad Al Kaabi / Ministry of Presidential Affairs )​ ---

On Monday the UAE witnessed a historic moment when the first-ever commercial flight from Tel Aviv landed in the UAE’s capital. The Head of Israel’s National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, read his first statement to the media in Arabic after he arrived Abu Dhabi.

Bin-Shabbat, who stood next to US President’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and US’ National Security Adviser, Robert O’Brien, at the media briefing, started his statement with the Islamic greeting “As-salamu alaykum,” which means “Peace be upon you.”

“I’m proud and really pleased to head the Israeli delegation. We are here to turn a vision into a reality,” he told the reporters in Arabic. “There are no limits for improvement in many fields [between the UAE and Israel] like innovation, tourism, aviation, agriculture, energy and many others.”

Ben-Shabbat, who was appointed Israel Prime Minister’s national security adviser in 2017, read his second statement in Hebrew.

The top-level US-Israel delegation was received at the airport by Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. The delegation will depart Abu Dhabi tomorrow.

UAE is the third Arab country to normalise ties with Israel after Egypt in 1978 and Jordan in 1994.

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law who is also chief Middle East adviser highlighted the fact that the UAE in 2019 celebrated “Year of Tolerance” and hosted Head of Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who became the first-ever pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula.

“And this year they welcomed Israel,” Kushner said.

“I want to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces for his leadership and courage. He is truly leading the new Middle East,” he added.

Asked what this historic flight means to him personally, Kushner said, “For me to fly over here today was a tremendous honor.”

“My grandparents survived the Holocaust. They were persecuted because of their faith in Nazi Germany in the 1940s. They came to America and experienced freedom, which enabled them to live the American dream and have a great life,” he added, emphasising that people of all faiths should be living at peace.

Also Read: UAE strikes down Israel boycott law

Also Read: UAE-Israel steps up ties on Healthcare

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