Evangelicals, UAE FM talk future of Abraham Accords - opinion

Published date29 April 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
But the soft-spoken, brilliant and thoughtful minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates – widely known by his initials "ABZ" – is far more interested in discussing the future than the past

Indeed, this fascinating and innovative son of Sheikh Zayed – the founder of the modern nation state known as the United Arab Emirates – lights up when he's talking about helping forge the future of his country and region for the next 50 years, and leaving a legacy of hope and progress for his children and grandchildren.

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His older brother, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ), is the powerful crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the visionary ruler of the UAE.

Together, they are leading the most dynamic and exciting era of change in the modern history of the Arab and Muslim world.


I first met ABZ in Manhattan in September 2018 when we were finalizing plans for the first delegation of Evangelical leaders that I brought to Abu Dhabi the following month.

He and the crown prince both graciously met with that delegation and invested many hours with us, ABZ first and then MBZ the following day.

At that time, MBZ confided to our group that he had decided it was in the UAE's profound national interests to make peace with Israel and not only accept the Jewish people's right to live in safety and security in their ancient homeland, but to build a true, enduring and warm friendship and alliance with the Jewish state.

We were stunned and encouraged.

We were even more encouraged when, less than two years later, MBZ kept his word and announced the historic Abraham Accords.


Once COVID began to recede, I wanted to organize this Abraham Accords Delegation of Evangelical Business & Media Leaders to visit Bahrain, the UAE and Israel, and thank the leaders of each country for literally changing the course of history.

Thus, I was deeply grateful when the foreign minister invited me to visit him Tuesday evening and bring four of my colleagues.

What ensued was an intimate conversation that lasted for 90 minutes.

"Joel, it is so wonderful to see you again," Sheikh Abdullah said with a warm and broad smile and as he greeted me and my colleagues. "Thank you so much for coming to see me and for bringing your friends."

"I'm so honored to see you again, Your Excellency," I...

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