Abu Dhabi: Israeli minister Miri Regev on Monday shared a video on Facebook of her touring a famed mosque in the United Arab Emirates, in an unprecedented visit by a cabinet member.
The culture and sport minister, known for controversial comments about Arabs, was dressed in a red abaya with a white scarf covering her hair at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. “I toured the site,” Regev told the camera, in Hebrew, surrounded by a group of people in traditional Emirati dress.
“This is the first time that an Israeli minister is here on a visit.” Regev, a member of Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, visited the mosque on Sunday, according to her spokesman. Her country does not have diplomatic relations with the UAE.
“Ending a moving and powerful visit to Abu Dhabi that brought a lot of respect and pride to the State of Israel,” she said in the posts, adding, “I am glad that I was privileged to be the first senior Israeli figure to sign the guest book at the mosque. I chose to do so in Hebrew, out of a message of brotherhood and hope for peace between peoples.”
Israeli officials publicly toured landmark sites in the UAE at the weekend, the first such visit, days after Netanyahu travelled to the neighbouring Gulf state of Oman. The delegation, which includes the country’s communications minister, was in Dubai for the International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference this week. “We arrived the day (Sunday) before the conference. We went around the town, and we visited the mall,” a member of the delegation said.
As relations appeared to thaw, the UAE allowed Israeli athletes to openly compete in the 2018 Grand Slam Judo Tournament this week. Claiming a gold medal win, top judoka Sagi Muki stood next to Regev during the medal ceremony where Israel’s national anthem the “Hatikva” played for the first time.
In July of this year, i24NEWS learned that the Israeli air-force hosted a military delegation from the UAE to review operations of the advanced US-made F-35 fighter jets.