President Isaac Herzog Opens Israel National Day at Dubai Expo Hours After Houthi Missile Attack
Israel's President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, at the Expo 2020 in Dubai on January 31, 2022. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog Opens Israel National Day at Dubai Expo Hours After Houthi Missile Attack

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog opened Israel national day at the Expo 2020 in Dubai amid tighter-than-usual security hours after a ballistic missile attack on the UAE by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The missiles fired late on Sunday night were intercepted and destroyed by Emirati air defenses; the Gulf country did not say whether the missiles had targeted the major cities of Abu Dhabi, the capital, which Herzog visited on Sunday, or Dubai.  The UAE was the first Arab Gulf country to normalize ties with Israel, by signing the Abraham Accords in mid-2020.  “I hope, and I believe, that more and more nations will soon follow the UAE’s lead and join the Abraham Accords,” Herzog said in a speech delivered at the Expo on Monday. “Israel is a country in which obstacles become opportunities, and where the impossible is a tantalizing challenge. This pavilion has provided a phenomenal taste of what we have to offer—from water tech and sustainable agriculture, to public health, to smart cities and ground-breaking solutions for a circular economy. It has also been a stage for the beautiful mosaic of cultures, faiths, music and arts, that make up Israel’s vibrant society. And it has been a practical display of cooperation between nations, of the future we can all imagine. This imagination turned into reality right here, when the UAE and its leaders daringly signed the historic Abraham Accords,” he said. Herzog also said, in Arabic, “May God bless you and grant you long lives. Thank you very much.” It is the first time that the Expo has been held in the Middle East. Herzog visited the pavilions at the Expo on Monday, before meeting with the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. They discussed various issues, including deepening collaboration in the fields of trade, innovation, tourism, and investment. They also discussed the special common history of Israel and the UAE according to a statement from the president’s office. On Sunday, Herzog met with the UAE’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, including an unscheduled personal meeting, and later met with Jewish leaders.

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