The Abraham Accords brokered by President Trump, Jared Kushner and others have exceeded all my expectations.
At first, I was admittedly cautiously optimistic that the Abraham Accords would make an immediate impact in the region.
And, while I was confident they would take root, I thought it would take several months, maybe years, to break down the barriers between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
The Abraham Accords have been moving at a speed that is almost unrecognizable, and to someone like me who is following all of the successes with much excitement, it’s been difficult to keep up with the myriad of opportunities, business deals, and friendships that have come from the Abraham Accords.
What I've been most excited about are the education-related breakthroughs that have come from these accords.
Before going into that, I think it’s important to share the opening paragraph of the Abraham Accords.
''We, the undersigned, recognize the importance of maintaining and strengthening peace in the Middle East and around the world based on mutual understanding and coexistence, as well as respect for human dignity and freedom, including religious freedom.''
The text of the Abraham Accords continues on, to declare, ''We seek tolerance and respect for every person in order to make this world a place where all can enjoy a life of dignity and hope, no matter their race, faith or ethnicity."
When I first read the text of the accords, I was shocked to see words like ''tolerance'' and ''respect for human dignity.'' My shock soon turned to pure happiness when I attended a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., between the U.S. State Department Department and the Kingdom of Bahrain in October of 2020.
At this MOU — hosted by the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan S. Carr and Deputy Special Envoy Ellie Cohanim — I saw and heard firsthand as Bahrainis told me they were taking a stand against anti-Zionism in their country and the Mideast.
As I mentioned earlier, the MOUs (memorandums of understanding) between governments geared toward increasing collaboration between Israel and the Gulf states are happening quickly.
Additionally, the private sector has seized the opportunity and there have already been several successful business delegations and business deals between Jews and Arabs as a result of the accords.
There are now daily flights between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco.
While all of these gains are very significant, what I find most sigificant are the steps that Arab countries are taking to root out the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment in their cultures through education.
I have long believed the only way for there to be peace in the Mideast is for the youth to learn tolerance and the truth — not hatred and propaganda.
Educating youth will long outlive a business deal.
So how are Arab countries rooting out these sentiments?
Well, in a short period of time, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan have shown the world how serious they are about implementing the very principles of the Abraham Accords.
In Israel, a bill has been introduced in the Knesset to ensure there is a mandatory education curriculum, one that fosters learning about Arab history and culture while simultaneously ensuring all Israelis learn Hebrew and Arabic.
In Morocco, its education system has issued a mandate that all of Morocco's youth will now be learning Jewish history and culture.
For years, although Morocco had no official relationship with Israel, thousands of Jews of Moroccan origin visited the land of their ancestors to celebrate religious holidays or make pilgrimages, including from Israel. Now, Moroccans will be learning about Jewish history and culture.
This is a huge step forward toward genuine and enduring Mideast peace.
With this move, Morocco becomes the first Arab nation to take such a step to change their education curriculum.
In Saudi Arabia, they are scrubbing out hard liner anti-Zionst and anti-Israel rhetoric from their textbooks. In a statement, the monitoring group IMPACT-se stated that attitudes toward Israel are becoming ''more balanced and tolerant.''
As an example, it noted the removal of an entire chapter that was titled ''The Zionist Danger'' which delegitimized Israel’s right to exist.'
In Bahrain, Dr. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and U.S. Special Envoy Carr signed a memorandum of understanding on anti-Semitism in Washington, D.C.
That document outlines goals to eradicate anti-Semitism and promote respect and peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jewish people through education and programs.
In the MOU, you will find lines that include:
- ''WHEREAS anti-Semitism is a vile poison that must be eradicated from the world''
- ''The King Hamad Centre and SEAS intend to work together to share and promote best practices for combating all forms of anti-Semitism, including anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.''
While Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Morocco are all taking meaningful steps forward to root out the decades old hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish nation of Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas continue to live in denial while indoctronating their youth to hate Jews and Israel.
For decades, the Palestinan Authority and Hamas taught their youth to hate the Jewish people in their textbooks; they have named schools after suicide bombers and — they spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year for their Pay for Slay program that incentivizes young Palestinians with nothing to lose, to murder Jews and Americans.
In return, their family is giving a monthly stipend.
Young Palestinian boys and girls are growing up being braninwashed to look up to suicide bombers and playing on soccer fields named after suicide bombers.
This must end.
This must change.
We are not born with hatred in our hearts but for years, hatred towards Israel and the Jewish people has been instilled in Arab cultures at a young age.
While the countries mentioned in this piece are taking huge steps to change this, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas continue to hold onto their failed practices.
I look forward to seeing and being a part of the continued successes of the Abraham Accords. The world is truly becoming a better place to live as Israel and Gulf states take their friendships out of the darkness and into the light for the world to see.
I also look forward to visiting the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia as a Jewish man in 2021 to build new relationships with my Arab brothers and sisters in the Mideast.
It’s a new day and a the sun is rising in the Mideast.
We have the Abraham Accords to thank for that.
Bryan E. Leib is currently serving as Chairman of HaShevet, a Jewish and Israel advocacy group. Formerly, he served as the National Director for Americans Against Antisemitism and he was the 2018 Republican Endorsed Congressional Candidate for PA-03 (Philadelphia, PA). He has served as a Board Member for organizations such as: United Way, National Museum of American Jewish History, Jewish National Fund, the Philadelphia Young Republicans and the Camden Youth Soccer Club. He tweets at @Bryan_E_Leib. Read Bryan E. Leib's Reports — More Here.
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