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The New Arab Staff

Israel warns citizens not to talk politics with Emiratis

The UAE and Israel have had clandestine relations for years [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 December, 2020

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Israel has warned its citizens not to discuss democracy, the royal family, or other taboo issues with Emiratis during their trips to the UAE.


Israel's foreign ministry has advised citizens not to discuss sensitive cultural and political issues with Emiratis, including the royal family, democracy, or the treatment of foreign workers in the Gulf state.

A 29-page travel advisory entitled "United Arab Emirates: Do and Do Not" sets out the do's and don'ts for Israelis when speaking with Emiratis, following September's normalisation agreement between Israel and the UAE.

The pamphlet warns Israelis to avoid conversations on taboo subjects during their travels to the UAE or meetings with Emiratis in Israel.

"The United Arab Emirates is not a democratic country and it is not acceptable to speak about democracies as a preferred model of government," the advisory warns according to NPR.

"[Do] not to speak to Emiratis about the royal families... avoid speaking about local politics... [and] speaking about government or state policy towards foreign workers."

The pamphlet is not an official government advisory and appears aimed at informing travel agencies handling Emirati tourists about cultural and political taboos in the UAE, including the sensitivities in promoting democracy.

Israel hopes that to bring in 100,000 tourists from the Gulf region in the coming years, many of whom who will likely visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam.

There are also concerns about Israeli tourists visiting the UAE who might be the targets of retaliatory strikes following the killing of a leading Iranian scientist, which has been blamed on Israel.

The UAE and Israel announced normalisation of ties in August before signing an agreement in the White House the following month.

Bahrain and Sudan have both followed the UAE and announced normalisation of relations with Israel.

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