The first UAE ambassador to Israel was sworn in by the country’s PM

United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Sunday swore his country’s first ambassador to the state of Israel, Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah.

It was not immediately clear when Mohamed Alkhaja ​​will come to Israel to take office.

In late January, Israel opened its embassy to the UAE as Ambassador Eitan Na’eh arrived in Abu Dhabi. The same day the UAE approved the opening of the embassy in Tel Aviv.

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The two countries made normal ties last September, with the signing of Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington in a deal broken by the then U.S. President Donald Trump. Bahrain also got into the boxes, developing ties with Israel.

Avi Berkowitz, a Trump supporter who helped shape the boxes welcomed Al Khajah’s appointment.

“It is hard to express the joy this will bring to me and the team – led by President Trump and Jared Kushner – who worked on the Abraham Accords – thanks to the UAE for being leading the way, “Berkowitz tweeted.

UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba also welcomed the development, tweeting his congratulations to Al Khajah.

“Mohamed will be a key champion of the Abraham Box – human-to-human exchange, trade and investment, regional peace and stability,” wrote Al Otaiba.

Israel’s ambassador to the UAE, Eitan Na’eh, is based in Abu Dhabi. The embassy is currently working from a temporary office, until a permanent location can be found.

Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s first ambassador to the UAE, after arriving there on January 24, 2021. (Foreign Ministry, with permission)

While embassy exchanges have taken place, a visa removal agreement between Israel and the UAE has been maintained due to coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed an upcoming visit to the UAE and a future date has not yet been announced.

The Prime Minister’s Office said at the time that the decision had been postponed without end was made as a result of the closure of air travel to and from Israel, as part of a national blockade aimed at preventing the introduction of coronavirus diseases from abroad.

Netanyahu had planned to travel to Abu Dhabi and Manama ahead of the March 23 elections in Israel, in what would be his first official visit since official diplomatic relations were established with the UAE and Bahrain last year. The trip had initially been scheduled for early January, and then for later that month, but was delayed by COVID-related issues.

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