UAE resident to embark on 9,000km road trip from Dubai to Israel and back

Journey will take the American 21 days, as he drives through Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain in his Nissan Armada

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A UAE resident is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime when he travels from Dubai to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in his car.

American Bruce Gurfein, 45, leaves Dubai in his Nissan Armada on Sunday to make the 8,760km round trip.

He told The National the journey has special symbolism for him as a Jew living in the UAE.

The trip, which is expected to take 21 days, will see him travelling across countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve lived here since 1997, and now with relations so good between Israel and the UAE it felt like the right time,” said Mr Gurfein.

“It has always fascinated me how many similarities there are between Jews and Muslims.

“There is so much that connects us. We should be working together instead of fighting and going in opposite directions.”

He said the signing of the Abraham Accords was a significant indication that Israel and the UAE were as close as they had been in decades.

Israel and the UAE signed the historic accords in 2020 at a ceremony in the White House.

The agreement was the first between Israel and an Arab country in more than a quarter of a century.

“I wanted to do [the trip] about five or six years ago but couldn’t get the permits needed for each country,” he said.

“A lot of countries couldn’t understand why I wanted a permit to drive to Israel with a car that had a UAE number plate.

On a mission to boost food security

“Now with the peace agreement in place, it is much more straightforward.”

Another reason for Mr Guerfin’s trip is he is launching a platform for food tech and desert tech countries across the region to connect with one another.

A large part of the journey will be taken up with meeting potential clients, he said.

“Finding solutions to food security issues is something that is so crucial, especially in this region,” he said.

“There are so many talented people working in these sectors across the region and it’s important to be able to bring them together to look at possible solutions that could help so many.”

The most challenging part of planning the journey was obtaining the various permits required to enter each country, he added.

“It’s costing around Dh20,000 ($5,400) for the various permits and insurance. The reason for this is because I have to get a special permit for my car in each country I travel to,” said Mr Gurfein.

“There’s no one insurance firm that would cover me for the entire journey so I had to get separate policies in each country.”

Updated: August 07, 2022, 7:34 AM
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