Tensions are steadily rising in the Gulf region, with the Iranian regime resisting a diplomatic resolution to its illegal nuclear activities and threatening to abandon the talks in Vienna and race to “breakout” and start building an entire arsenal of nuclear bombs.
Tehran is also funding, arming and advising a wide range of radical Islamist terrorist organizations, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to Hamas in Gaza to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Meanwhile, Houthi terrorists continue fire missiles and drones at the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as recently as Monday.
After U.S. President Biden’s surrender to the Taliban in Afghanistan last Fall, Middle East leaders have little confidence that the White House will have their back if tensions with Iran and its terrorist proxies erupt in a full-scale war.
It’s in this context that Israeli President Isaac Herzog has just announced that he will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday for an historic two-day visit.
Never before has a president of the State of Israel made an official visit to the U.A.E.
It would be an historic trip at any time.
But Herzog is making an especially smart move at such a critical and sensitive moment in the region.
The trip will be both a show of solidarity between Israel and its new Gulf peace partner and another sign of the success of the Abraham Accords, bringing the Jewish state closer and closer to the moderate Arab world.
WHAT WILL THE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT INVOLVE?
President Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog have been invited by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, widely known by his initials “MBZ,” who is the de facto ruler of the UAE.
Herzog will hold official meetings with:
- The crown prince
- Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who serves as vice president, prime minister, and defense minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai
- and representatives of the Jewish community.
Herzog is also expected to open Israel’s national day at Dubai Expo 2020.
“We have the privilege of making history by making the first visit of an Israeli president to the United Arab Emirates,” Herzog told reporters.
“This important visit comes as the Israeli and Emirati nations are busy laying the foundations of a new shared future,” he added. “I believe that our bold new partnership will transform the Middle East and inspire the whole region. We are a peace-loving nation, and together we will expand the historic circle of peace of the Abraham Accords and create a better, more tolerant, and safer world for our children. I thank Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for this gracious invitation to deepen our nations’ bonds of friendship.”
WHAT SIGNAL WILL PRESIDENT HERZOG WILL SEND THE ENEMIES OF PEACE?
On Tuesday, Herzog formally received a copy of the “Strategic Survey for Israel 2022” published by the Institute for National Security Studies in a ceremony with INSS director Manuel Trajtenberg, the organization’s chairman and senior fellow.
“Your annual report identifies dangers and threats, but also points to opportunities and openings for hope,” Herzog said after being briefed on the report.
“Today there is an emerging regional understanding that the future of the Middle East is a future of cooperation,” he continued. “In the face of the Iranian threat and its dangerous proxies in the region, we must cooperate with our friends. Not just for the sake of Israel’s citizens, but for all the inhabitants of the Middle East. This is a regional interest of the highest order.”
“Israel’s security is tightly bound up with its national resilience, in our ability to deal with the most profound disagreements, without giving up on our faith in ourselves,” the president noted. “We have the power to live together and act as one people. Bridging divides, including political ones, is perhaps the most important step for maintaining Israel’s security, stability, and prosperity.”
Herzog’s visit to the UAE will, therefore, send an important signal to the enemies of peace that Israel is ready, willing, able, and eager to build strong and lasting strategic alliances with Arab states who agree that Iran and the forces of radical Islamism – not Israel – are the reals source of danger and instability in the Middle East.
ALL ARAB NEWS and ALL ISRAEL NEWS will be covering the presidential visit.