The first specialized Jewish quarter can be built in the United Arab Emirates, said Eli Abadi, senior rabbi of the Jewish Council of the Emirates. It will include a synagogue, residences, schools, a community center and hotels.
Eli Abadi specified that about 2,000 Jews live permanently in the UAE, with about 500 of them practicing their religion. This number has doubled since the Abraham Accords, a peace treaty between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, were signed in 2020.
Since the normalization of relations, the Emirates has received more than 200 thousand tourists from Israel, many of them are considering the idea of moving to the Emirates and starting a business. Elie Abadi predicts that their number will quadruple in the next five years.
According to the rabbi, this means that it is time for the UAE to equip the Jewish district. “We need more houses of worship, schools – from kindergartens to higher education institutions – a special place for a mikveh, more kosher food establishments, a community center,” Abadi said.
Having a dedicated, fully functioning area will be especially important on Shabbat, when Orthodox Jews don’t drive. “Therefore, we would like to have an area with a synagogue, private houses, condominiums, hotels, shopping centers,” continued Elie Abadi.
About 1,000 Jews also live in Saudi Arabia. In the next five years, every country in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) will have recognized Jewish communities, the rabbi said.