Israeli minister says UAE should train Palestinian imams on 'moderation'

Israeli minister says UAE should train Palestinian imams on 'moderation'
In the meeting, the Israeli minister suggested Palestinian-Israeli Muslim imams living within Israel's 1948 boundaries should be trained by the UAE on religious 'moderation' and combating violence, according to reports.
2 min read
05 October, 2021
The Israeli minister also invited her Emirati counterpart to visit Israel in November to participate in a joint interfaith prayer [Getty]

The Israeli interior minister has suggested to her Emirati counterpart that Palestinian-Israeli imams could be trained in the UAE on "religious moderation", according to media reports.

Israeli Minister Ayelet Shaked made her first official visit to the UAE where she met her counterpart Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on the sidelines of the Dubai Expo 2020 on Monday.

The meeting comes ahead of an agreement to cancel entry visa requirements for both states' citizens.

Shaked reportedly suggested that Palestinian imams in Israel could be trained and educated in the UAE on "religious moderation, tolerance, and combating violence", Israel Hayom newspaper reported.

The Israeli interior ministry oversees the appointment of around 300 imams who are Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The minister also reportedly highlighted the importance of a strategic relationship between the two countries, as she invited Al-Nahyan to visit Israel in November to participate in a "joint interfaith prayer".

The ministers also discussed initiatives to enhance cooperation between Israel and the UAE, which include interfaith projects.

The UAE shocked the Arab world by agreeing on a normalisation deal with Israel last year and has sought to portray itself as a moderating power in the region.

"I experienced today what true peace is. The administration has gone out of its way to make it clear that a real partnership has been forged between the countries. I see great importance in strengthening the strategic relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates," said Shaked, according to Israel Hayom.

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On her visit, Shaked also visited Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Wahat Al-Karama, a memorial for UAE soldiers. She said in a tweet that she was received "with much warmth and love with high expectations of the peace agreement".

The minister is expected to visit the Israeli pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020.

The visit comes after the one-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords, which saw various Arab states - including the UAE - normalise ties with Israel last year under the tenures of then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump.