UAE and Israeli soccer clubs to play first friendlies since normalisation

UAE club Al-Ain will play Israel’s Maccabi Haifa in two friendlies, the Emirati side said, the first such fixtures since the two countries normalized relations.

The announcement came during the virtual signing of a deal between the two clubs and follows the United Arab Emirates’ landmark move to normalize relations with the Jewish state in August.

“(The agreement) will consolidate the policy of bridge-building and cooperation between the two major clubs in various fields including marketing, technical cooperation, investment, commercial activities, media, and sport,” said Mohamed Thaaloob, chairman of the Al-Ain club investment company.

The clubs, two of the most successful in their respective leagues, also agreed to stage two friendlies, the first to be hosted by Al-Ain and the second to be held in Haifa at an unspecified future date, he added.

In September, Israel signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords at a White House, officially normalizing relations with the UAE and Bahrain.

The Jewish state has since signed similar agreements with Morocco, Sudan, and most recently Kosovo, the first Muslim-majority country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In October the Emirati and Israeli football federations signed a cooperation agreement, a first between the two nations, intended to promote closer sporting ties.

A month before that agreement, Emirati club Al-Nasr signed Israeli player Diaa Saba, who is of Palestinian heritage, becoming the first Israeli player to sign for a club in an Arab league.

Until last year, only Egypt, in 1979, and Jordan, in 1994, had normalized ties with Israel.


Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.


EJC President Kantor praises the Pope for impromptu visit to Holocaust survivor

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor praised Pope Francis who visited a Holocaust survivor in her Rome apartment to pay tribute to all those who suffered from what he called “the craziness of Nazi populism.”

At IHRD event, Dr. Moshe Kantor calls on EU member states to ensure that Holocaust survivors receive COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible

During a joint International Holocaust Remembrance Day event, co-hosted with the European Commission, EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor called on the member states of the European Union to ensure that Holocaust survivors have access to a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

EJC to host joint International Holocaust Remembrance Day event with the European Commission

The European Jewish Congress, will host an online event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 25 January 2021 at 16:00 CET in cooperation with the European Commission.

The event will feature EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental.

EJC welcomes practical handbook on the IHRA definition of antisemitism

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor welcomed the publication of a handbook for the practical use of the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as a key tool in the fight against anti-Jewish hatred in Europe.