Middle East

UAE hosts first memorial service for the dead of the Israeli army 

Abu Dhabi hosted its first official Israeli memorial event on Tuesday to commemorate the dead soldiers from the Israeli army.

The proceedings took place in Hebrew at the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi, and were led by the Israeli Ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Amir Hayek.

“Here, in Abu Dhabi, we will bow our heads and honour those who in their deaths willed us life,” Hayek stated at the ceremony. “From here, vow to take care of a better future for the coming generations, a future in which no nation will lift a sword against another nation, and no more war will be learned.”

“From here, from Abu Dhabi, we will continue to remember the fallen. We will continue to accompany the wounded and the bereaved families,” he said.

READ: Settlers storming Al-Aqsa cause a great danger to stability of the region, official says

This is the first time such an event was held in an Arab country, according to the Israeli website, Kan.

In September 2020, the UAE and Israel signed a US-sponsored deal to normalise their relations.

Since then, the two countries exchanged official visits by senior officials and have signed dozens of bilateral agreements in various fields, including investment, banking services and tourism.

Three other Arab states – Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan – joined the UAE in the controversial move that came to be known as the “Abraham Accords”.

Hayek later told Israel’s Army Radio he was overwhelmed with emotion during the ceremony. “I do not remember a speech in which I stopped so many times to digest, and to wipe away tears of sadness, hope and emotion,” he said.

“I think we need to work step by step. A mother whose son was killed, no matter if she is Jewish, Christian or Muslim, hurts everyone,” he added.

READ: Israel readying itself for rising tensions as settlers storm Al-Aqsa

It comes after the UAE summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest against occupation forces storming Al-Aqsa Mosque and injuring over 150 Palestinians.

Reem Bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, stressed the need “to immediately stop these events [and] provide full protection for worshippers,” the Ministry said in a statement.

She also called for “respect for the right of Palestinians to practise their religious rites, and halt any practices that violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, she expressed concern over the escalation of tension that threatens stability and security in the region.”

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