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The New Arab Staff

In a first, a UAE restaurant is officially certified kosher

Elli's Kosher Kitchen plans to open a cafe in Abu Dhabi soon [Twitter]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2020

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The Dubai-based caterer was granted a kosher certificate from the US-based Orthodox Union especially for a banquet following the first direct flight between the UAE and Israel.
Israel has welcomed the certification of the first ever Kosher restaurant in the UAE, just weeks after the two countries agreed to normalise ties.

"For the first time in the UAE, a kosher restaurant is opening soon in Abu Dhabi after obtaining an official license from the relevant rabbinical authorities," the official Israel in Arabic Twitter account said on Wednesday. 

"A small step but one with huge implications following the Israeli-Emirati peace agreement," it added.

The account, which publishes official announcements from the Israeli government in Arabic, shared an image of the kashrut certification issued for Elli's Kosher Kitchen on Monday.

Kashrus or kashrut is the set of dietary laws observant Jews follow. Kosher refers to the food that is deemed permissible to be consumed.


Elli's Kosher Kitchen opened as a kosher catering business operating out of Dubai last year, but will soon open a permenant branch in the capital as well as expanding to natiowide delivery.

The food delivery service is run by Elli Kriel, a South African who has lived in the UAE for seven years and is a member of the Gulf state's tiny Jewish community.

Kriel's husband, Ross Kriel, is president of the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE). 

The business was granted kashrus status by the US-based Orthodox Union's Kosher Divison, the largest organisation for kosher certification in the world.

Unusually the certificate was marked as valid for only two days.

While the caterer expects permanent Orthodox Union certification, it was granted kashrus certification for a special occassion on Monday, Elli's Kosher Kitchen said on Twitter.

The business provided a kosher banquet for guests who arrived in Abu Dhabi on the first non-stop flight between Israel and the UAE on Monday.

The dinner took place at the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum and was attended by Jared Kushner along with a number of senior Israeli and Emirati officials, and a host of Israeli journalists.

The UAE flew in the director of the Orthodox Union's Israeli branch ahead of the flight in order to oversee the kosher food preparation, local media reported.

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