By World Israel News Staff
The signing of the historic Abraham Accords in August 2020, which normalized relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, signaled a new era in Middle East politics.
Two of the most powerful and influential countries in the Gulf had openly stated they were willing to maintain trade and diplomatic relationships with the Jewish State, despite the Palestinian issue – a policy which had previously been unthinkable.
Now, emboldened by the establishment of formal relations, several influencers from the Arab world have emerged as strong voices advocating for Israel and attempting to change perceptions in the region about the Jewish State.
Saudi Arabia-born, Abu Dhabi-based social media influencer Loay Al-Shareef told the Jewish Chronicle that his ideas about the country had changed radically over the years, as he’d originally thought of Jews as occupiers and oppressors who had “stolen” land.
But after deep research into Biblical history, Al-Shareef believes that “it’s very righteous for the Jews to have their ancestral homeland in the land of Israel.”
“Jews are not colonialists or conquerors in the land of Israel, because if we would believe that then we would believe that David, Solomon, Isaiah and Yirmiyahu and the prophets were actually colonizers, and that would kill the Islamic faith,” he told the Chronicle.
Al-Shareef added that the Arab world’s patience with the Palestinians was wearing thin, especially after so much money has been poured into their cause with minimal results.
“We’ve given them lots of money that could turn Gaza into a Silicon Valley,” he said. “Enough money that would turn the West Bank into a new Singapore. Where is this money going?”
According to one analyst, Arab curiosity and goodwill towards Israel is nothing new, though the agreements have empowered people who would have been reluctant to speak up before the official normalization.
“For years I’ve been attending clandestine and not so clandestine meetings with Israelis, Europeans and people from almost every Arab country,” Middle East commentator Tom Gross told the Chronicle.
“The goodwill has always been there. I’ve witnessed far more hostility towards Israel among leftists in London and Paris and by some European-born Muslims, than people I have got to know who actually live in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq.”
Bahraini citizen and influencer Fatima A-Harbi, who has visited Israel twice, said seeing the Jewish State for herself had a huge impact on her perception of the country.
“As soon as I landed there, we got to the hotel and I saw how friendly the people were. Arabs, Muslims, Jewish people, all from different backgrounds. They were even more happy than we were that we’d come,” she recounted.
“We wore our traditional clothes, so it was easy to spot us in the streets of Israel. People we didn’t know at all kept approaching us, asking, ‘Are you from Bahrain or Dubai?’ They kept saying, ‘Welcome to Israel!’”