On Tuesday, Israel’s Interior Minister, Ayelet Shaked announced that Emiratis and Israelis would be able to travel without a visa to each other’s countries from Sunday onwards. The visa-free travel was announced by the Interior Minister on a trip to the United Arab Emirates and it will come into effect from October 10th. People from Israel who travel to the UAE for business, as well as tourists, will not need a visa for entering the country. However, a visa will be required by all those who intend to volunteer, work, or study in the UAE, or for people who are traveling due to religious reasons.
The government is planning on opening Israel to tourists who are vaccinated from the end of October if the number of coronavirus cases in the country continues to drop. A visa-free agreement was signed between the UAE and Israel in January, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been put on hold by the Emiratis soon after. At that time, a quarantine of two weeks was necessary for Israelis visiting the UAE because of the high rates of coronavirus infection seen in the Gulf state. The rules have now changed and now people who have received three shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will only be required to quarantine until they receive their PCR test results after they return to Israel from abroad, including the United Arab Emirates.
During her trip to the UAE, Shaked visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi and said that she had managed to experience ‘true peace’. She added that the government of the UAE had proven to be a gracious host, which showed that the two countries had formed a true partnership. She had a meeting with Saif ibn Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Emirati Interior Minister during the trip. Homeland security is also part of their responsibilities. Shaked said that Abu Dhabi is considered one of the world’s safest police and there are a lot of things to be learnt from their police.
She added that the city was a smart one, as a wide network of cameras was used for various applications and they had managed to keep traffic accidents and crimes to a minimum. The Israeli Interior Minister said that she had also discussed the country’s Bedouins and the numerous problems and they had shared some ideas for solutions. Furthermore, the ministers also had a discussion about the religious diversity and interreligious dialogue in the two countries. The ministry under Shaked includes non-Jewish religious services and she suggested that the Imams in Israel attend training courses and seminars in the UAE on tolerance, religious moderation and discouraging violence.
There are 300 Imams and muezzins employed by the ministry in 270 mosques. Shaked also visited the UAE war memorial called the Oasis of Dignity and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. She is also planning to check out Dubai expo to take a look at the Israeli Pavilion, which she said was a great way of developing new economic opportunities and developing connections between the UAE, Israel and the entire world.