Jerusalem, Israel - Mar. 1, 2021 - President of Israel Reuven Rivlin on Monday, March 1, 2021, 17 Adar, received diplomatic credentials from the first Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the State of Israel, Mohamed Mahmoud Fateh Ali Al Khaja. The ambassador presented his letter of credence on assuming his role as ambassador to the State of Israel, in an official ceremony in the Hall of Beit HaNasi.

The rain and the overcast Jerusalem sky cleared as the official red carpet ceremony was to begin. The national anthems of both countries were played by the IDF Band, as the flag of the United Arab Emirates rose to flag along with the Israeli flags. The UAE ambassador reviewed an IDF honor guard, reduced in size because of the coronavirus restrictions

After entering the Israeli President's official residence to sign the Beit HaNasi guest book, the president and the ambassador then delivered joint statements and held a working meeting.

“Ahlan wa’Sahlan, Siyadat a-saphir! Marhaba  bikum fi-Yerushalayim, f‘il-Quds!,” the president welcomed the ambassador in Arabic and said that he was happy to meet him and his delegation in Israel, in holy Jerusalem.

The president said it was a very moving occasion for him as President of Israel, but also a special moment for him as the son of Prof. Yosef Yoel Rivlin ז"ל, who dearly loved the Arabic language and the culture of the peoples of the region. He said, “My father’s life’s work was the translation of the Holy Quran into Hebrew. My father’s house, not far from here in Jerusalem, was filled with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian scholars, who learned from each other and imagined a future of the partnership, mutual respect, and peace between the sons and daughters of Abraham. In this home I learned that we, the people living here, were not doomed to live together, but destined to do so on this land, to build it, develop it and lead it to a time of peace and prosperity.“

We look in wonder at the oasis in the desert that you have created. The Emirati leadership has established, with wisdom, innovation, and sense, a state that seeks peace, a hub for technology, economic development, and tourism, a place that looks ahead. Our two countries share this ethos – a small people that wish to turn arid land into a blooming garden, against all odds.”

“We have nurtured the relations between us for some time, believing that if we waited patiently the time would come when we could take them one step further and deepen the friendship between us and make it public. Thanks to brave and wise leadership, we are fortunate enough to see this wonderful day when the Emirati flag flies beside the Israeli flag over Beit HaNasi, the home of the Israeli people.”

“You should know that not only I am moved. The entire Israeli people welcome you with joy and opens arms to you to welcome you to us. And this, Mr. Ambassador, will be your most important mission – to welcome the hands reaching out to you, to meet the Israeli people, and to get to know them up close. Treaties are signed by leaders, but real, sustained peace is made from people to people, face to face. There are so many things we can do together, Israelis and Emiratis, to advance our peoples and the whole Middle East, to a time of regional cooperation, mutual respect, prosperity, and peace.”

At the end of his remarks, the president wished the ambassador success on his mission and invited Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zaid to make a state visit to Israel and Jerusalem. “I wish you great success in building this bridgehead between our countries and our peoples. The doors of Beit HaNasi are always open to you. Ahalan wa’Sahlan bikum!”

The event was live-streamed on the President's social media Facebook page and can be seen HERE