At the invitation of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the country’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Zayed, Mr Herzog and his wife Michal arrived in the Emirates’ capital at around 12:00 (0800 GMT).
He was welcomed by Foreign Minister Abdallah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, with whom he immediately got involved “work meeting”according to a statement from Mr. Herzog’s office.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were the first Gulf Arab states to publicly normalize ties with Israel in September 2020 at the instigation of Donald Trump, then President of the United States.
The visit is the second by a senior Israeli official, after Mohammad bin Zayed met Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in December to “deepen cooperation in all areas”.
The two men spoke in particular about the Iranian nuclear issue, a concern shared by Israel and the Arab monarchies in the Gulf.
In November, the two countries and Bahrain conducted naval maneuvers “Improving (their) collective maritime security capabilities”with Iran regularly accused of conducting hostile operations in Gulf waters.
said to himself Herr Herzog, whose function in Israel is essentially ceremonial “pleased with Emirati reception” Therefore “First visit by an Israeli President to the Emirates”.
As he was leaving Israel, Herr Herzog mentioned a visit “historical”claims to bring “a message of peace for the whole region”according to his office.
He will meet Mohammed bin Zayed on Sunday, as well as other Emirati officials and representatives of the local Jewish community.
On Monday he will travel to Dubai – another emirate in the federation – where he will meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, head of government and defense minister. Mr. Herzog will also visit the grounds of the 2020 World’s Fair.
That “The historic visit (…) will improve bilateral relations between the two countries with the aim of signing important trade agreements in the near future”Emirates Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al-Khaja tweeted on Saturday.
The agreements normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates were signed by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and endorsed by the current ruling coalition, then in the opposition camp.
These “Abraham Accords” had also led to similar pacts with Morocco and Sudan.
They were considered by the Palestinians “Treason”the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long remained a condition for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and the Jewish state.
Since then, the Emirates have normalized a number of deals with Israel ranging from tourism to aviation to financial services.
According to the head of the Israeli consulate in Dubai, Ilan Sztulman Starosta, around 200,000 Israelis visited the United Arab Emirates between September 2020 and September 2021, and around 40 companies from his country have already settled there.