History is made as new friends celebrate Purim

To mark Purim, the JC and the oldest UAE newspaper, Al-Ittihad, publish a historic joint editorial in both English and Arabic. It follows the peace deal agreed last September by Benjamin Netanyahu, the UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Na

February 25, 2021 13:42

To all our dear Jewish readers

We congratulate our friends in Israel, and Jews around the world, on the occasion of Purim which, in their hearts, symbolises the triumph of good over evil, hope over despair, life over death, building over demolition and survival over annihilation. We pass this message through our colleagues at the Jewish Chronicle.

History shows that most of the problems and crises that the world has faced, and humanity has suffered, were caused by a widening gap between different peoples and cultures. A loss of communication with each other, and the spread of terrifying stereotypes, provides fertile soil for conflicts and hostility.

Hence, we look at the Abraham Accords as a reflection of the civilised outlooks we both champion. We also regard the Accords as a courageous move to establish a better reality for future generations; one that is consistent with our joint vision for our future, and the future of a region that is ravaged by conflict and tension, and was about to slip into a dark phase.

Even more, we regard the Accords as a triumph of the will to build a future of hope and life. They are an ideal way to enhance coexistence, fraternity and human unity, turning away from the conflicts and hostilities that disrupt the unified spirit of nations, stop progress and lead to the deterioration of humanity.

We have a message here in the United Arab Emirates, which is the foundational ideal that guides us:

“When you seek peace, you work for the future, spreading goodness and hope in the hearts of all generations. You have the wisdom that humanity strives for, seeing the world as one family and removing feelings of hatred and hostility.”

This is the philosophy which will move us to a safe and prosperous future, in which feelings of human fraternity rise and become the core of our character.

With the triumph of willpower we achieved peace, and we are moving together towards a better future for our countries and our region. This Purim, we wish to celebrate with you our shared destiny, both present and future. We wish affection and peace for our friends.

Hamad al Kaabi is Editor-in-Chief of Al-Ittihad newspaper, UAE

To our dear readers in the UAE

We live in astonishing times. The coronavirus has changed the world we live in, causing terrible suffering and damage across the planet. But thanks to the genius of human beings, vaccines have been created that give us all hope for the future.

Hope is a something that most of us cherish. It is easy to view some problems as hopeless; but few things have shown more clearly why we should never lose hope than last year’s establishment of diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

This historic front page is a sign of a remarkable new era. 

The editors of Al-Ittihad and the 180-year-old Jewish Chronicle, two of the most iconic newspapers of their kind, have come together to demonstrate the beginning of our new friendship by writing for each other’s readers, and we have chosen the Jewish festival of Purim as the occasion. 

Even six months ago, who would ever have predicted such a thing?

For decades since the creation of Israel in 1948, both Israelis and Jews in the diaspora lived in hope that Israel would be able to exist in peace with its neighbours. 

For much of that that time, such a hope seemed unrealistic. 

The obstacles to normal relations seemed too great. But the signing of the Abraham Accords — one of the most momentous, uplifting and hopeful events of the 21st century — has changed everything. 

A new era of peace and prosperity in the region has begun. And what joy it brings to see the brotherhood of man becoming reality, with two of the great Abrahamic faiths signalling their bonds and determination to work together. With an open spirit, anything is possible. 

That is also the message of Purim. In that story, the Jews faced extinction at the hands of their Persian ruler. All seemed hopeless. But with God’s will, they survived while their oppressor was destroyed. 

I will leave you to decide if the story has any modern relevance. 

It is an honour for me to be able to pass on on warm wishes for your good health and prosperity to readers of both our newspapers, as we celebrate the start of a new chapter in relations between the UAE and Israel.

Stephen Pollard is Editor of the JC

February 25, 2021 13:42

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