Israel 'happy' to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai fair

Israel 'happy' to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai fair
2 min read
27 September, 2021
Israel announced it will take part in Expo 2020 Dubai when the world fair opens on Friday.
Israel and the UAE normalised ties last year [Getty]

Israel is gearing up to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai when the world fair opens Friday, a spokesman said, a year after the UAE and the Jewish state normalised ties.

"We're very happy to be here," Menachem Gantz told AFP, the spokesman of Israel's Pavilion at the six-month world fair.

"This is the first time the expo is in the Middle East, and the first time Israel is participating in an event of such a large scale and importance (in an Arab country)".

On September 15 the United Arab Emirates marked one year since normalising ties with Israel, a move that caused uproar across the Arab population.

Previously, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab states to have peace agreements under which they recognise Israel.

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After the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan also agreed to normalise ties.

The four countries that recently normalised relations with Israel were condemned as "treason" by Palestinian leaders who pointed out that they rewarded Israel while it continued its occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and siege of Gaza

The Israeli pavilion, which includes a large illuminated sign saying "Towards Tomorrow" using both Arabic and Hebrew -- will be open to all.

Inside, pathways run between sand dunes made of a thin layer of concrete and sand-coloured rubber.

"Our pavilion... is made of things that integrate us, that show how similar we are," Gantz said.

"The 'sand' we're standing on symbolises the dunes, and the topography of Israel and the Emirates is very similar to it."

The UAE and Israel have sought to emphasise the economic dividend offered by normalisation.

The global expo, which Dubai hopes will attract visitors and boost the economy, is set to open its doors to the public on October 1 after a one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.