Jewish Council of the Emirates launches publicly, will affiliate with the WJC

10 Sep 2020

In response to normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Jewish Community in the UAE makes itself known 

NEW YORK – In an effort to strengthen relationships with fellow Jewish communities across the globe, the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE) announced its intention to formally affiliate with the World Jewish Congress (WJC). In doing so, the JCE, the recognized representative body of Jews living in the UAE, will be joining a network of more than 100 Jewish communities that work together to protect and celebrate their Jewish religion, culture and heritage. Simultaneously, the WJC announced that a delegation of the WJC’s Jewish Diplomatic Corps, the organization’s flagship leadership development program for young professionals, will be visiting the UAE in the near future.  

In moving remarks presented during a recent WJC gathering of Jewish community leaders from its representative communities around the world, Ross Kriel, JCE president, described the JCE’s formation over the last decade and its emotional response to the recent announcement of normalized relations between the UAE and Israel. Kriel added that the JCE looks forward with great enthusiasm to joining the WJC family, and to hosting the WJC delegation. “We hope that together we can play a significant role in advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East,” Kriel said. 

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder declared: “The World Jewish Congress looks forward to welcoming the Jewish Council of the Emirates into our global network of Jewish communities. The JCE’s very existence exemplifies the tolerance and forward outlook exhibited by the government of the United Arab Emirates. The WJC is inspired by the JCE’s story and encourages other governments to follow the example set by the UAE in helping to foster this burgeoning Jewish community. 

“It is only by getting to know one another and to know about one another that we will effectively normalize relations between Jews and the Arab world, and I’m delighted that this process is progressing in the UAE.” 

Lauder added he is proud that the WJC will be sending a delegation of young Jewish leaders from around the world to the UAE, in partnership with the government and JCE. Members of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps will be engaging in a series of working meetings with Emirati counterparts and will join with JCE leadership and other community members to support the JCE’s growth and programming. The WJC also plans to hold a future governance meeting in the Emirates. 

The JCE is expected to formally become a WJC affiliate at the next WJC Plenary Assembly, scheduled for May 2021. 

Kriel shared, “I feel deeply proud to be here as a Jewish leader, deeply honored to have joined this forum, and I’m feeling very moved about what this means for peace—for the prospect of moving forward and finally resolving issues for other Muslim monarchies to join in and follow the lead of the UAE.” 

JCE Chief Rabbi Yehuda Sarna added, “The JCE will be a lighthouse community in the Gulf for dialogue and interfaith cooperation and looks forward to leveraging the WJC’s global community network to enhance new opportunities in the region.”  

Mary Kluk, a member of the WJC Steering Committee, national president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, and chair of the Africa & Australia Jewish Congress, echoed Lauder’s sentiment. “The establishment of a Jewish community in the UAE, represented by the Jewish Council of the Emirates, has been a tremendous development. The WJC has historically supported emerging Jewish communities by connecting community organizations to our vast network of communal leaders and professionals and the sharing of best practices. We look forward to continuing this honored tradition with our friends at the JCE, as well as sharing their incredible story with our affiliated communities.” 

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The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.
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