We just completed an exhilarating three days broadcasting from Dubai, UAE. While JM in the AM and NSN have been on the road before, every trip is unique. This journey had its own moments and lessons that we were able to transmit to our global audience.
When the Abraham Accords were announced and normalization was celebrated by Israel, the USA, the UAE and Bahrain, a new world opened up for Israelis and Jews around the globe. There had been Jewish visitors to the UAE even before it was a country that openly embraced a relationship with Israel, but now times are very different. Hebrew is being spoken all over Dubai, Chanukah week is attracting tens of thousands of Israelis, and when one walks publicly with a kippah, locals express a desire to meet Jews and learn more about their background.
The safe, clean and futuristic environment in Dubai made for a very enjoyable visit. The business being conducted by corporate leaders from Israel and the UAE was dominating conversation and it created a palpable air of cooperation when one spoke with the residents and tourists.
I had heard about many of these recent realities from 7,000 miles away, as many of us had. But there is nothing like seeing things with your own eyes and hearing things with your own ears. This became a reality for me as we conducted shows and interviewed guests of varied backgrounds.
There were other discoveries that I made in Dubai. Many of them dispelled some of the many ideas that I and others had formulated throughout years of being observant Jews and lovers of Israel.
Could an Arab government service a population with their basic needs and encourage productivity and growth? The UAE has. We saw it.
Could an Arab government establish clean, organized and futuristic cities and a country that would become a tourism hub and an attractive destination for people of all countries? The UAE has. We saw it.
Could an Arab country sincerely want to live in peace and harmony with Israel and open up business and tourism channels with the Jewish State? Would those Arabs be friendly and accommodating to Jews and Israelis? Would they reject those Arabs that want to and try to murder Jews in the name of the Koran? The UAE has. We saw it and we heard it.
The Dubai experience was exhilarating. Being an eye- and ear-witness to all of these revelations and speaking to Jews and Arabs who confirmed all of it was one of the highlights of our journey.
Many of us who grew up in an era where suicide bombers and corrupt Arab administrations and rejection of real and sincere peace dominated the headlines might find much of this hard to believe. Our visit to Dubai and the great conversations that we broadcasted to thousands around the world opened up our eyes to a new reality and gave us tremendous hope for the future of the Jewish people on the world stage.
Nachum Segal is host of JM in the AM and President of NSN. Info at www.nachumsegal.com