In the Bible, Abraham is the father of two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, and the patriarch of two nations. It is not a coincidence that the accords that were signed a year ago bear his name, the person who is the point of union between sibling nations.
My grandfather spent his formative years in Jerusalem before emigrating to Colombia. He arrived with his parents and his siblings after months of travel with few possessions but great cultural wealth. My great-grandmother spoke Ladino, a language Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 took with them and carried around the world for generations. Many of the expressions I heard at home and mistakenly assumed to be Hebrew turned out to be Arabic words. Armed with knowledge of Ladino, Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish, my family settled in Colombia, where I remain today.
This small account of my family history illustrates that the Abraham Accords are more than just a diplomatic agreement between two nations.
The first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab nation was signed in 1979 with Egypt, followed by Jordan in 1994. Ishmael and Isaac were taking their first steps towards reuniting.
A year ago, with the signing of the Abraham Accords, a giant leap forward was taken. Israel's dialogue with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain marked a new stage in diplomatic relations between Middle Eastern countries and has led to the normalization of relations with Morocco and Sudan.
A year ago, on behalf of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps, I sent the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates in Colombia, H.E. Salem Rashed Alowais, a letter congratulating him on the signing of the Accords and I sent another a few days ago, on the occasion of its first anniversary. Representatives in Latin America of the countries that were signatories to the agreements have conducted meetings with the local Jewish communities, strengthening fraternal ties not only with Israel but with the Jews of the Diaspora.
"We and the Jews are brothers," a tour guide in Fez, Morocco, told me a few years ago as she guided me through the Mella, the old Jewish quarter of the city. There, centuries-old synagogues are empty monuments, visited by Jews looking for traces of their past. While there is hope for a rebirth of Moroccan Jewry, we can already see progress is in the United Arab Emirates, where a Jewish community only a decade old has begun to flourish. At the last plenary of the World Jewish Congress, held virtually in June, the Jewish Council of the Emirates, was approved as a WJC affiliate.
In November I will have the honor of participating in a WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps delegation to the United Arab Emirates r to strengthen ties of friendship, an impossible thought not too long ago.
The Abraham Accords bring with them the hope of continuing to build bridges, create new relations and celebrate the union between our nations.
Vivianne Tesone Milhem, WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps Member. The original piece appeared in La República.