Allow me to close with this story that sums up the experience and my feelings about the potential success of the Abraham Accords. On the final night, we met with representatives from a group called Sharaka - شراكة (meaning partnership). This younger generation of Israelis and Arabs, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druze want to work together to make the region better. They are devoted to continuing the progress and momentum. They were clear, “Boycotts and conflict are not the way - partnership/sharaka - is the only way forward.”
A young man involved with Sharaka named Louie, who is from Saudi Arabia and now lives in Dubai, talked about his new found love and understanding of the Jewish people. He had always been taught ugly things about Israel. The Abraham Accords inspired him to think differently, to learn Hebrew, and to study Jewish texts. He told the story of his visit to Jordan and standing on Mt. Nebo overlooking the Dead Sea towards Israel. He reminded us that was the same mountain Moses stood on when God told him he could look at the Land of Israel, but never enter. Louie shared how while he was on top of the mountain, he prayed that one day he would enter the Land of Israel. He will be visiting soon.
The United Arab Emirates is more than impressive. Everything is big, bright, and splashy. They are a modern society that wants people to both visit and relocate. The Jewish community feels safe and secure. You can feel how much the government is doing to make the Abraham Accords a success in regard to relations/trade/security with Israel. Most of all, there is a great desire to bring Arabs and Jews together. This is not a "cold peace." Nor does the UAE want to create peace solely between diplomats and politicians. This is about grassroots connections between everyday people -- and you can be a part of that story.
Shabbat shalom and a belated THANK YOU as we honor all who have served our country.