Israelis have caused a remarkable tourism boom in the UAE, with over 50,000 visiting from Tel Aviv since the two countries signed a normalization agreement, a report has said.
Tens of thousands of tourists flew to the Emirates from the Jewish state, while Israeli authorities expected over 70,000 to arrive during the eight days of Hanukkah, The Washington Post reported.
The UAE launched tourist visas for Israeli citizens earlier in December after the two countries normalized relations in September and began talks on mutual tourism opportunities.
Emirati family host Israelis in the #UAE
— @dark_adda (@Dark_Adda) December 18, 2020
Shortly after the announcement, the Israeli government urged its citizens to avoid travel to the UAE, citing security concerns after Iran threatened to attack Israeli targets following accusations that Israel was behind the assassination of its top nuclear scientist.
Israeli tourists were not deterred, despite their government’s warning, and flocked to the Emirates to celebrate Hanukkah.
“To me, this feels like the Iron Curtain lifting,” The Washington Post cited an Israeli woman visiting with her husband on a seven-night package tour as saying.
Jewish community center in Dubai is reportedly planning to build a mikvah “befitting Dubai’s luxury standards” https://t.co/bUMAdWdhlH
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) December 18, 2020
To avoid escalations with locals, Israel’s foreign ministry has released a 29-page travel advisory advising citizens not to discuss sensitive cultural and political issues with Emiratis – including the royal family, democracy, and the treatment of foreign workers.
Israel also hopes to bring a tourism boom to Jerusalem and expects over 100,000 tourists from the Gulf region to want to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque – the third holiest site in Islam.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)