Mideast Peace: Emirates Airlines Sets Up Kosher Food Facility

Bill Clinton early willed a peace at Camp David. He twisted Israel’s arm into offering more than 95% of the territory that Palestinians were asking for. This didn’t include sovereignty over East Jerusalem and it didn’t include a full ‘right of return’ allowing every Palestinian to re-enter Israel and reclaim ancestral property from current owners. Yasser Arafat rejected the deal. Arafat’s own domestic politics made it a non-starter.

Twenty years later we have the U.A.E. and Bahrain recognizing Israel, becoming only the third and fourth countries in the region to do so (after Egypt and Jordan). Saudi Arabia’s own domestic politics make it difficult for them to join in this group. However what’s changed to allow progress over the past two decades is the rise of an aggressive Iran. Israel is now an important strategic ally and counterbalance.

The United States, of course, played a significant role in bringing out public alignment of what these countries have been moving to for several years, and the President – and his son-in-law! – deserve some credit, even if how much credit is debatable.

National airlines have, for the most part, been more progressive than their countries in the region. There are usually no limits to drinking on Emirates or Etihad, for instance. Just don’t show up drunk and belligerent at immigration!

And while Jews haven’t been welcome on board Kuwait Airways, Emirates has actually served Kosher meals by pre-order. Now, in a sense that liberalization of relations with Israel is permanent, Emirates is setting up a Kosher food production facility.

El Al may have a new 26 year old owner but it’s Emirates that gains most from direct flights between the U.A.E. and Israel, because the Emirates global route network can take Israelis nearly anywhere they want to go.

Kosher Arabia should be up and running in January, and will serve Emirates as well as other airlines operating from Dubai. The Dubai-based carrier will no longer have to use a contract caterer to source Kosher meals. Emirates is even exploring opening Kosher restaurants both in Dubai and throughout the region.

For anyone not dedicated to the destruction of Israel, I think, this seems unambiguously a good thing – at least as long as Emirates doesn’t displace some of its fine wines with Manischewitz. They could even branch out into Kosher Chinese food, under the Shang Chai or Genghis Cohen’s brand.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. For goodness sakes, this appears to serve one single city pair – would it not be more sensible to contract with whoever El Al uses at its TLV hub?

  2. Peace in the Middle East is certainly one of the more positive stories to come out of 2020 so far and I’m certainly looking forward to flying EK F to TLV.

    Speaking of kosher restaurants, the very first in the Middle East outside of Israel opened in the Burj Khalifa yesterday, which is nothing short of astounding: https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/wow-first-kosher-restaurant-united-arab-emirates-opened-today-worlds-tallest-building/

    Happy Rosh Hashana 5781, Gary!

  3. @jfscott
    Hi Scott
    As gary mentioned, very soon emirates will start taking israelis to asia and the far east, many of them will stop over in dubai and not necessarily connect from TLV
    There will also be a lot of south american jews flying in from sao paolo and mexico
    I am not sure that setting a facility is better than using a contractor but to source from TLV for all their routes does not make sense
    Turkish airlines flies in normal times 6 times a day from ist to tov and yet almost nobody disembarks in ist so this is not just for one city pair

  4. This isn’t a peace deal. The UAE and Bahrain, like other GCC countries, have never been in a declared war against Israel, so there was no peace to be made between these Gulf monarchies and Israel. Having full or partial diplomatic relations can exist between countries with or without the countries being in a peace deal with each other.

    If anything, this is a sign of a warmongering deal, since the GCC states want more American weapons systems and are appreciative of an alliance with Israel and the US to fight against Iran above and below the belt.

    Jews are as welcomed on board Kuwait Airways as Buddhists, Christians, Hindus Muslims, Sikhs and others. What isn’t welcomed abroad that airline, due to a Kuwaiti law, are Israeli passport users. And the Kuwaiti restriction applies whether or not the Israeli passport presenter is Jewish, Christian, Druze, Muslim, an atheist or otherwise. Kuwaiti law restricts Kuwaiti persons and businesses from engaging in commercial transactions with Israeli persons and other Israeli entities. But a Jewish, Christian or Muslim Israeli-US (or Israeli-UK/Australian) dual citizen can readily fly on Kuwait Airways by presenting an acceptable passport from a country beside Israel. Hopefully, that 50+ year old Kuwaiti law gets scrapped soon too. Note that Kuwait now does have a quasi-democratic parliament in the picture; the other GCC states really have no such institution and are much more of a “because the king/emir/crown prince says so” place.

  5. A couple of years ago, Netanyahu was in Oman meeting the then (since deceased) Sultan and the person who has become the new Sultan of Oman. It was in the Omani media while I was there, even official pictures of them together.

    So in some ways, it should be say Oman got there before the UAE and Bahrain.

  6. Its a peace deal between 2 countries to start a war with a 3rd country. Very noble accomplishment.
    As GUWonder eloquently stated, these 2 countries were not at war with each other. They don’t share a border. So how is this a peace deal? Gary seems more excited than MBZ and Netanyahu.

  7. Now it’s time to kick Turkish Airlines to the curb. They are anti-Israel, anti-Western, anti Semitic, and won’t allow El Al flights in, ostensibly due to security concerns. This has been a lousy one-way street of benefits for Turkey. End their gravy train now!!

  8. Kosher restrictions are very similar to Halal so there probably doesn’t need to be many changes required to the kitchen.

  9. Setting aside the Kosher restaurant this is great for us on the west Coast connecting into Israel.

    And Takhlig give it a rest at least people are talking to each other which is a good thing.

  10. @ghostrider5408
    Then why don’t you talk to Iran also if talking is so good.
    Again, this is a deal to attack Iran and others. It’s not a peace deal. How can there be a peace deal when there is no war.

  11. Omar
    you are partially right but also a kosher kitchen needs constant supervision from a certified inspector and also there is the issue of separate kitchens as you can not mix dairy and meat and you can not even cook them in same equipment even if cooking them separately, so it is not such a simple operation, but I guess they know what they are doing
    the main similarity is the no pork issue but muslims can eat seafood while kosher can not eat most of those, and there is also a difference on how the animals are butchered
    its complicated

  12. A lynch pin of these agreements is that Israel does not annex any land in the Palestinian Authority’s West Bank (aka Judea and Samaria). Netanyahu has made clear that annexation is not off the table, and may move forward as early as next year (i.e. after the US election). If annexation of any PA land happens, then it’s almost certain that the UAE, Bahrain, and any other Arab countries that sign on will walk away from the agreements. And the whole episode will be shown to be a pre-election stunt by Trump (who persuaded all the players with one weapon system or another to defend against Iran, or bashing Qatar, or who knows what that we will eventually find out later). Of course, as a consultant that does a lot of work in the ME both in Israel and in the GCC, with friends and colleagues everywhere, I hope that’s not the case, but I’m not optimistic.

  13. @SE_Rob – I disagree. Think what you will about the rulers of the gulf states, but stupid they are not. They have taken into consideration that an annexation move is a possibility down the road. It’s just that they (correctly in my opinion) concluded that even if this happens, it would probably be enough time down the road for them to claim there’s no connection here to their normalization, and that in any case it’s “too late” now to do anything and everyone just needs to “move forward”.

    Understand – the rulers of the gulf states don’t give a sh*it about “palestinians”. While for a lot of the people in the arab world this is a big issue (due to their hatred of Israel that sticks out like a successful thorn in a failure of an arab world), the GCC rulers know better, and are making a strategic play here. This will not be overturned easily. And that’s why the “palestinian” leadership is so devastated by it right now – they understand this too.

  14. The last significant ruler in the GCC to care about the Palestinians getting a state of their own — and Jordan isn’t really that state despite being heavily Palestinian at this point — is the more or less impotent Saudi King. But the Saudi King is at his end anyway; and he has already let his son (namely, Crown Prince MBS) rule Saudi Arabia in most every operational way. And MBS, as de facto ruler, doesn’t really care if the Palestinians get a state of their own. What MBS cares about is who will prop him up as ruler of Saudi Arabia, and in large part that is why he does the UAE’s bidding. Note that the UAE — particularly the UAE’s MBZ (crown prince of Abu Dhabi) — helped make MBS into the de facto power in Saudi Arabia and the UAE/MBZ backs MBS whenever MBS gets himself deeper in trouble anywhere and everywhere.

    For the Gulf Arab rulers, any popular state and potentially more democratic regime consisting of a Muslim-majority population voting is considered a threat. Why? Because nothing threatens the power of these authoritarian monarchical regimes more than popular democracy ….. including in these Muslim-majority countries. In large part that is why the GCC monarchies have become increasingly hostile to Pakistan (as and how the Pakistani military lose power in parts to popular movements in Pakistan) and why they are increasingly coddling a Muslim-hating, Modi regime in India that they want hooked ever more to buying Gulf Arab oil for as long and as much as it can sell it to India and to continue to have India be opposed to Muslim participation in democracy for fear of Muslims in their own country wanting democracy too.

    Trump is all about supporting and being supported by right-wing authoritarians. And like President Trump who indicated that he finds even his own democracy-participating American supporters “disgusting” — so disgusting that he had always wanted to minimize shaking the hands of fellow Americans because of that — the GCC rulers too find their own people’s aspirations and desires disgusting in the main too unless it’s a means to deliver on their vanity projects and continue to stay in power at all costs.

  15. Steve,

    Do you realize that Trump — as with his self-dealing son-in-law — is a fan of and extremely friendly toward Turkey’s increasingly-authoritarian leader Erdogan? Trump has been very quiet about what Erdogan’s war criminals are doing in Arab and Kurdish areas near to it this year: murdering, raping, and looting. Just like he’s been silent about criticizing Putin for putting (and paying) bounties for attacking US military and other personnel in parts of Asia.

  16. @Steve,
    Turkey has always had a Good relationship with Israel and Israelis. There are many, many, Jews that call Turkey Home. Turkey used to be a Favorite spot for the Israelis till The Nut n yahoo came to Power. He knows how to win elections by starting Wars Between nations to keep the Israelis Distracted.

  17. Gary Leff,
    Maybe you should learn a thing or two from Ben at OMAAT. that you can be Jewish and still have a Fair Opinion about Palestinians and others. It was not too long ago,you were complaining about the UAE Policies, and Saudi Policies about LGBTQ. What happened, since a Few Arabs are talking to Israel,the atrocities are Okay?

  18. @Dude26. As you suggest, the reason the GCC rulers will walk away from the agreement post annexation is exactly because they don’t want to provoke another Arab Spring in their own countries. You correctly observe that their subjects, the so-called “Arab Street,“ does strongly support the Palestinians and their sovereign national objective. No GCC ruler wants to be the next Syria.

  19. yeah tip him. usually food delivery dubai (food delivery dubai 24 hours) dudes get below minimum wage. most of them rely on that tip even if they’re using company vehicle and gas. i usually tip $2 to $4. or whatever is convenient change.
    muslims who do not fast they will be eating food and online food delivery dubai (dubai food delivery) inside their rooms even in their home countries. They just dont eat such stuff right on the streets in the presence of million people.

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