Bahrain Mirror: The United Arab Emirates' senior-most rabbi has revealed plans to develop the Gulf Cooperation Council's first dedicated Jewish neighborhood, containing faculties and institutions for the thousands of Jews who have made the Emirates their home.
Abadie says there are some 2,000 Jewish residents in the UAE, with about 500 "active Jewish" people practicing their religion, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.
This number has doubled since the historic Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel, were signed in 2020, he says.
The UAE alone has welcomed more than 200,000 Jewish tourists since the peace deal, with many exploring the idea of moving to the Emirates and establishing businesses.
Abadie predicts this number will quadruple over the next five years.
It means, the rabbi said, that it is time for the UAE to have its own dedicated Jewish neighborhood, home to hotels, shopping centers, schools, a synagogue, and a community center.
"We will be seeing more houses of worship, schools - from nurseries to higher education - a dedicated place for the mikveh, a ritual bath designed for the Jewish rite of purification, more kosher food establishments, a community center," Abadie said.
Having a dedicated fully functioning neighborhood will be particularly important on Shabbat, when Orthodox Jews do not drive except in life-threatening emergencies, the rabbi said.
"What we need is a Jewish neighborhood, and I have been speaking with a few real estate developers about this."
Elie Abadie, the senior rabbi of the Jewish Council of the Emirates in the UAE, currently leads the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), established in 2021 to gather the Jewish populations in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.
In mid-September 2020, the UAE and Bahrain signed agreements with the Israeli entity to normalize relations.
In addition to the UAE and Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco signed agreements last year to normalize relations with Israel.