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Wine grown in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights heads for Dubai store shelves Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Wine grown in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights heads for Dubai store shelves

Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights is not recognised by the international community [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 October, 2020

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The Israeli wine will be available at hotels, restaurants and shops in Dubai, where only non-Muslims are legally allowed to drink.
Wine produced in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is set to go to market in Dubai this week, following Israel and the UAE's formalising of ties in September.

The Golan Heights Winery grows its grapes in the area captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 war and since then illegally annexed.

The international community, including the UAE, does not recognise Israel's 1981 annexation of the area.

In a statement, Golan Heights Winery said the Yarden, Gamla and Mount Hermon wine brands will be sold in the UAE through African + Eastern (A&E).

The beverages will be available at hotels, restaurants and shops in Dubai, where only non-Muslims are legally allowed to drink.

Although South African Kosher wine is already available in the UAE, this will be the first time that Israeli-produced wine is sold in the Gulf state.

"This is an historic launch and we expect a successful and long-term collaboration with the Golan Heights Winery," A&E CEO Jason Dixon said in the statement quoted by Reuters.

Golan Heights Winery CEO Yair Shapira described the UAE as a market "with interesting and unique potential", adding that Golan Heights Winery's Dubai debut would "open the gate" for Israel's wine industry.

While the speed of the rapprochement between the UAE and Israel caught some by surprise, entrepreneurs have been quick to take advantage of the normalisation in ties.

Just two days after the signing of the accord in Washington, Dubai-based Emirates Airlines unveiled plans to produce kosher meals in collaboration with a company owned by Ross Kriel - Elli's husband who is one of the leaders of the Jewish community in the UAE.

The Middle East's largest airline previously used suppliers in Thailand for kosher meals on its international flights.

From the new year it will produce them at a dedicated facility in the UAE, expected to be operating in time for the inauguration of direct flights.

While the UAE and other Arab states have rushed to embrace Israel, opinion among Arab populations remains strongly against normalisation.

A poll published Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in early October showed that an overwhelming majority of 88 percent of Arabs reject normalisation with Israel.

Israel has supplied spyware technology to the UAE, a country known for its widespread detention and torture of opposition activists.

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