By COLlive reporter
Last month, Bruce Gurfein and Joe Koen, two Jewish businessmen living in Dubai, marked the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords in a unique way – journeying by car from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the holy land of Israel.
The Abraham Accords was a historic achievement brokered by President Donald Trump in August of 2020. It normalized relations between Israel and several Arab nations, something that had not occurred since 1994 when Israel normalized relations with Jordan.
Titled “Voyaging Ventures,” Gurfein and Koen drove through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria.
The purpose of their trip was to promote continued peace and strengthen the bonds between the countries involved. Theirs was the first trip of its kind and it garnered enthusiastic support from online followers and local residents on the ground.
“At every stop along the way, we would tell the locals about the purpose of our trip and in turn we received a lot of encouragement from them,” they said.
Upon entering Israel, the two stopped at the village of Kfar Chabad in their now famous car fitted with Dubai plates on Monday, August 15. They were warmly welcomed by local Lubavitchers and visited the 770 building, a replica of Chabad World Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY.
They entered the model of the Rebbe’s room and prayed there for peace. They praised the work of United Arab Emirates Rabbi Levi Duchman, a Chabad Shliach who oversees the fast-growing Jewish community there.
Since the signing of the Accords, business and trade has thrived between Israel and the UAE in particular with El-Al, Israel’s national airline, making regular flights between the two countries.
Although Gurfein is delighted with the progress that has been made, he told the Jerusalem Post that he believes the time is not yet ripe for Israel-Saudi diplomatic relations to be made. If Israel and Saudi Arabia make peace soon, “it will be like Jordan or Egypt, not like the UAE and Bahrain where there are real economic ties.”
— Bruce Gurfein بروس غورفاين (@BruceGurfein) August 14, 2022