Expo 2020 is an impressive example of tolerance – opinion

Following the Abrahamic Accords, the Middle East continues to develop at an unprecedented rate, with relations between Israel and the Arab countries stronger than ever.

This alliance has been further encouraged by the shared threat of a nuclear Iran, and while these looming threats become more worrisome as time goes on, you wouldn’t know it from the impressive example of tolerance and coexistence displayed at the Expo. 2020 from Dubai. , thanks to the vision of the United Arab Emirates. Last week, I visited the exhibition to see what it was about and what I found was an impressive example of tolerance that almost everyone seemed to agree on.

With 192 countries participating, the expo is a striking example of what it could be, and what better time to host such an event than shortly after the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates? The exhibition takes place every five years in a different city in the world and lasts for six months. This year it focused on the themes of mobility, sustainability and opportunity, with individual pavilions in each country emphasizing their contributions to one of these themes.

This year’s event, which was initially delayed due to COVID-19, was also the first to be held in an Arab nation, but that’s not the only thing that makes this exhibition historic: For the first time, Israel also participated, and with an important message that fits perfectly with the theme of the expo.

The Israel pavilion, intentionally designed in an open format to demonstrate openness, focused entirely on the power and harmony that come from diversity and connection. With an interactive 360-degree video presented by Israeli Arab Lucy Ayoub, the history of Israel through innovation and diversity has been told to more than 250,000 visitors at the exhibition so far. At the top of the Israeli pavilion is an outdoor seating area where a giant sign says “see you tomorrow” in Hebrew and Arabic, in a message of hope for the region and the world.

The Dubai Expo 2020 sign is seen at the site entrance in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 16, 2021. (Credit: REUTERS / RULA ROUHANA)

While one might expect hostility from some visitors, particularly from enemy states like Iran or Lebanon, the reality in Dubai couldn’t be further from the truth. Speak Hebrew and interact with Arabs from

in the entire world, I did not find a single negative reaction during

my week at the expo, even while visiting pavilions in other countries like

like Iran, Iraq or Syria.

Interestingly, any mention of its history or any political message was absent from the Israel flag. In fact, Israel didn’t even show a map. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Palestinian flag. While it is also a beautiful display of culture, its displays were highly politicized in a way that seemed out of place: from heavy images of Jerusalem throughout the exhibit to maps showing the entirety of Israel as Palestine.

They also had a coloring activity to color the map of Palestine and an interactive map of Israel, which they labeled Palestine, prompting visitors to mark where they are from on the map. Finally, its pavilion featured prominently extensive nature shots of today’s “Palestinian” cities, including Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and Masada. The problem with this is, of course, that they are not Palestinian cities at all; They are Israeli and are even within the 1967 borders.

While the rest of the participating countries, including enemy states, presented an apolitical and progressive perspective of their countries, the Palestinian pavilion used the expo, a symbol of tolerance and acceptance, to once again push political messages and look back instead of forward. . The contrasting narratives were blatant and once again demonstrated that instead of moving towards a brighter future for the entire region and the Palestinian people, Palestinian leaders are hell-bent on missing every opportunity they can.

Meanwhile, the UAE is leading the way for the entire Arab world by presenting a way forward for peace and collaboration rather than war. Of course, this does not mean an agreement on all political issues, but it does mean an open line of communication and understanding to create a better world.

I would be remiss not to point out the striking similarities between the views of the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel. Both nations are states that developed something amazing from practically nothing. Both nations developed massively in recent decades alone, and both nations continue to expand and improve the world through technology, business, innovation, and yes, peace.

So it is natural that the United Arab Emirates and Israel, both nations of dreamers, continue to set an example to the region and the world of what the future may be.

The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC.


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