A Dubai museum has put on display a Torah scroll which survived the Holocaust, further demonstrating the growing ties between the UAE and Israel.
The precious document will take pride of place at the emirate's Crossroads of Civilisations Museum.
It was unveiled during an event to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday.
Remembrance events were held all over the world at the weekend to honour the six million Jewish people murdered, alongside the millions of others, by the Nazis during the Second World War.
The Torah, which contains the entire text of the Five Books of Moses, is considered one of the most sacred objects in the Jewish faith.
It is on extended loan to the museum from the Memorial Scrolls Trust, the custodians of more than 1,000 Czech scrolls still intact from the Holocaust.
Call for peace and harmony
Ahmad Obaid Al Mansoori, director of the museum, said putting the scripture on show would support efforts to combat the "big denial" surrounding the Holocaust.
"For us peace is a complete peace," Mr Al Mansoori said in remarks carried by Reuters.
"It's not just political, not economic, not security, not technology. It's beyond that. We have the peace, people to people.
Mr Al Mansoori said it was important to acknowledge the grim realities of the Holocaust.
“It is a historical fact,” he said.
“It is the biggest genocide against humanity. You can have different political perspective. But you cannot deny a historical fact.”
He said Holocaust denial in the Middle East was rooted in political ideology.
Education is key
The UAE’s decision to teach Holocaust in schools, he said, will go a long way educating the Arab youth and making them understand that the Holocaust was a crime against humanity.
Israeli government figures and Jewish community groups welcomed the announcement by the UAE embassy in Washington.
Teaching of the Holocaust, the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during the Second World War, will take place in primary and secondary schools in the Emirates, the embassy said.
The Holocaust is rarely taught in schools in the Arab world, with a few exceptions.
Israel's official Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem is involved in additions to the UAE curriculum, the UAE embassy said.
“This is a welcome step in which Yad Vashem will be happy to extend its experience and archives towards, including in developing specialised study material in Arabic,” the authority said.
An 88-year old Holocaust survivor spoke at the Dubai museum event about the hate he receives on social media, having lived to tell the harrowing story of horror and humiliation he faced in a Nazi death camp.
Gidon Lev, was born in Czechoslovakia and was one of the few children who survived incarceration at Theresienstadt — or Terezin — concentration camp between 1941 and 1945.
But he told an audience in Dubai on Saturday evening that some people still think he is lying.
“They straight out tell me that I am a liar,” said Mr Lev, who is a star on TikTok with more than 414,000 followers on his channel @thetrueadventures.
He is also the author of ‘The True Adventures of Gidon Lev’ that chronicles his life as a Holocaust survivor.
“But I wish it were a lie. Then I would have had a father, grandfather, grandmother, and uncles and cousins and second cousins,” he said as he shared his story during a commemoration event to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day held at the Crossroads of Civilisations Museum on Saturday evening.
The event, attended by members of the Jewish community as well as by prominent Emiratis, was live streamed across the world.
Historic Abraham Accords
The UAE and Israel formally established diplomatic ties when they signed the landmark Abraham Accords in September 2020.
The two nations have strengthened partnerships in a variety of fields — from the economy and trade to security and tourism — in the years since.
The Emirates opened an embassy in Tel Aviv in July 2021, months after naming its first envoy to the country.
Mohammed Al Khaja was sworn in as Ambassador to Israel by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at a ceremony at Al Watan Palace in Abu Dhabi.
Israel's President Isaac Herzog paid a two-day visit to the UAE in January 2022, in which he reflected on supporting peace and building partnerships with new friends.