The Jewish Chronicle

To our dear readers in the UAE

- By Stephen Pollard Stephen Pollard is Editor of the JC

WE LIVE in astonishin­g times. The coronaviru­s has changed the world we live in, causing terrible suffering and damage across the planet. But thanks to the genius of human beings, vaccines have been created that give us all hope for the future.

Hope is a something that most of us cherish. It is easy to view some problems as hopeless; but few things have shown more clearly why we should never lose hope than last year’s establishm­ent of diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

This historic front page is a sign of a remarkable new era.

The editors of Al-Ittihad and the 180-year-old Jewish Chronicle, two of the most iconic newspapers of their kind, have come together to demonstrat­e the beginning of our new friendship by writing for each other’s readers, and we have chosen the Jewish festival of Purim as the occasion.

Even six months ago, who would ever have predicted such a thing?

For decades since the creation of Israel in 1948, both Israelis and Jews in the diaspora lived in hope that Israel would be able to exist in peace with its neighbours.

For much of that that time, such a hope seemed unrealisti­c.

The obstacles to normal relations seemed too great. But the signing of the Abraham Accords — one of the most momentous, uplifting and hopeful events of the 21st century — has changed everything.

A new era of peace and prosperity in the region has begun. And what joy it brings to see the brotherhoo­d of man becoming reality, with two of the great Abrahamic faiths signalling their bonds and determinat­ion to work together. With an open spirit, anything is possible.

That is also the message of Purim. In that story, the Jews faced extinction at the hands of their Persian ruler. All seemed hopeless. But with God’s will, they survived while their oppressor was destroyed.

I will leave you to decide if the story has any modern relevance.

It is an honour for me to be able to pass on on warm wishes for your good health and prosperity to readers of both our newspapers, as we celebrate the start of a new chapter in relations between the UAE and Israel.

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