Saturday, March 6, 2021

UAE goes kosher to welcome Israeli tourists

Israeli and Emirati delegations are set to meet in the coming weeks to establish bilateral agreements on a range of issues.

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On Tuesday, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism sent a memo to general managers of all hotels advising them to offer kosher food.

Israeli and Emirati delegations are set to meet in the coming weeks to establish bilateral agreements on a range of issues including education, culture, tourism, telecommunications, and healthcare.

As the UAE will soon welcome Israeli tourists, one important item on the menu for discussion will be kosher cuisine.

Many Israelis follow Jewish dietary laws, known as “keeping kosher”.

Kosher meals follow traditional Jewish dietary laws including the prohibition of pork and shellfish, and generally have to be certified by a Jewish religious leader known as a rabbi.

“For Israeli tourists, the kosher solution does exist in the UAE,” said Elli Kriel, founder of Elli’s Kosher Kitchen, in an interview with Al Arabiya English.

Kriel, a member of the UAE’s Jewish community, started her kosher food business last year and has gained international attention for her “Kosherati” menu, which adopts local Emirati flavours to Jewish cooking.

Originally from South Africa, Kriel said she is excited by the peace treaty, which she thinks paves the way for positive developments in the Middle East.

David Zabinsky, a young Jewish American who moved to Dubai five years ago, told Al Arabiya English he hopes the diplomatic breakthrough will serve as a bridge to “enduring cooperation between Israel and the entire Arab world”.

Zabinsky said some of his closest friends in Dubai are Palestinian.

“I envision Jews and Muslims throughout the UAE having Shabbat dinners and Ramadan iftars together,” he said. “There is far more that brings us together than pushes us apart.”

Halal and kosher diets have many similarities.

The word ”Kosher”, meaning proper or fit, originates from the Hebrew word “Kashrut”. Kosher laws are derived from the Jewish holy book, the Torah.

“Halal” is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permissible. Halal food is dictated by the Quran. Food that is not permissible is called haram meaning unlawful or prohibited.

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