For the first time an Israeli sports team competed in an Arab country under its own flag and heard its national anthem played. The historic event happened in the United Arab Emirates and marked a breakthrough for the region. As CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Mitchell reports from Abu Dhabi, it could signal major changes across the region.
Israeli Gold Medalist Judoka Sagi Muki. Photo: IJF.org YouTube screen capture
Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev listened to history being made as Hatikvah, her country’s national anthem, which means “The Hope,” played during medal ceremonies at the international judo competition. That event followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brief visit to Oman, the first by an Israeli prime minister.
Abu Dhabi. Photo: Jonathan Goff
Another historic event took place when a delegation of American evangelical leaders came to Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital.
“What we found here in our meetings with the Crown Prince (Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan) and many other senior leaders is an extraordinary story that’s almost a hidden treasure of moderation, of resistance to radical Islamism to wanting a close relationship with the United States and freedom of worship for Christians,” author and Middle East expert Joel Rosenberg told CBN News.
Joel Rosenberg in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Jonathan Goff
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said he was inspired by the “powerful faith” of Christians in the UAE.
“I am greatly inspired by the powerful faith and determination of Christians in the UAE who have established a remarkable 700 Christian churches and ministries throughout the country,” Perkins said in a statement. “Observing the security and freedom of worship that minority faiths have in the UAE gives me hope for greater expansion of religious freedom in the UAE and for persecuted religious minorities across the Middle East. The UAE is pursuing a path of religious tolerance and peace that I pray other countries in the region would follow.”
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