NEW YORK – To mark the Jewish festival of Hanukkah and celebrate the fostering of Jewish life in the United Arab Emirates, the World Jewish Congress honored Amb. Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, permanent representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, at a candle-lighting ceremony Wednesday evening at the Neue Galerie in New York City.
The Hanukkah candles were lit by World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder; Amb. Nusseibeh; H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC); and Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Senior Rabbi of Park East Synagogue in Manhattan and Honorary WJC Vice President.
At the event, Amb. Lauder praised the Emirati government for actively enabling Jewish communal life within its borders and thanked Amb. Nusseibeh for her personal efforts to support this community.
In introducing Amb. Nusseibeh, Amb. Lauder said: “Ambassador Nusseibeh personifies the best ties that two Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Islam, have in common. She comes from a family that has always sought the ways of peace. She represents a country, the UAE, that has reached out its hand to the Jewish State of Israel through the Abraham Accords. The ambassador was instrumental in bringing normal relations between these two countries.”
Amb. Nusseibeh said, “During the lows of the global pandemic, Hanukkah reminds us always to seek the light. We have seen this light shine through the person-to-person diplomacy and relationship-building that is taking place across broader Jewish, Israeli and Emirati communities right now. The Abrahamic Accords are a triumph of peace over conflict, and during this holiday season, we join in the Jewish people’s celebration of the triumph of light over darkness and invite all to share in the blessings of peace.”
Mr. Ross Kriel, Jewish Representative to the Community Development Authority, Government of Dubai, delivered remarks via video.
“When we light the menorah on Hanukkah here in the UAE, we do it with a very visceral and immediate sense of the wonder of Hanukkah,” he said. “That there’s a convergence of the festival of Hanukkah and the 50th birthday of the UAE does not seem a coincidence to me. The UAE is a bastion of pluralism, tolerance and human citizenship. We celebrate this birthday with a deep sense of gratitude.”
Mr. Kriel added, “We are very honored to be affiliated [with] the World Jewish Congress. It’s an organization that brings together hardworking, genuine community leaders from around the world.”
The UAE Jewish community, known as the Jewish Council of the Emirates, recently became a World Jewish Congress affiliate.
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