Time for Israelis to go skiing at the UAE

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) has a lot to offer to Israelis, including an impressive ski resort. Maybe this is one of the reasons for the normalization of the relations between the UAE and Israel?

A Ski resort in an Arab country? Kind of cool, literally. Just think about it. You tell your friends you are going skiing. They ask, where? Switzerland? But the answer will be: the UAE. Could be nice going skiing in the neighborhood. Yet the UAE is about 2,200 km from Israel. (From Israel to Switzerland it is about 2,800 km, not much of a difference).

Israel has a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan, but peace with the UAE could be warm or even hot. Furthermore, close ties between the UAE and Israel might encourage other Arab states to warm their relations with Israel. This shift might end the ice age in the Middle East, as far as having a cold peace, let alone no relations at all between Israel and Arab states.

A ski resort in the Middle East sounds kind of weird, different and some will claim it does not belong there. Similar words have been said about the Jewish state. In both cases (Israel and the ski resort at the UAE) there is a need to take good care of them and to avoid a meltdown… Israel must prevent a meltdown following its severe economic and political crisis.

The ski resort at the UAE could attract Israelis. Israel has its own ski resort, at Mount Hermon, with advantages such as top peak of 2,000 meters, yet the one in the UAE spans over 22,500 sq. meters. Furthermore Mount Hermon is good for skiing only in the winter. The one in the UAE does not have this problem because it is indoors. Despite all of that, Mount Hermon is special in several ways to Israelis, and this site could not be substituted with any other ski resort.

There are others ski resorts in the Middle East such as in Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco and Iran. Some of them are accessible for Israelis, while others could be risky, but not because of a potential ski accident.

Iranian leaders condemned the UAE for allowing Israel to have a foothold right in front of Iran, i.e. at the Persian Gulf. There might even be some kind of an Israeli military deployment there, since the UAE fears Iran. The latter does not like to have Israeli troops at the other side of the Gulf. Iran has a military presence near Israel, mostly in Syria and Lebanon, but Iran is convinced that for her, it is allowed. Meanwhile the UAE will be a state where Israelis and Iranians can run into each other, including at the ski resort. There they might go down a slope. Their countries, which used to be allies until 1979, already descended the slope with ongoing conflict.

The UAE, which had developed a relatively significant military capability, is often called “Little Sparta”. Israel is not Sparta, but maybe described as a little Macedonia (referring to Macedonia’s military might during the glory days of Alexander the Great). Either way, the UAE, wants something in addition to a ski resort, the F- 35 joint strike fighter. The United States has to decide if to sell the F – 35 to the UAE. Israel has no problem with the UAE having a ski resort, but for an Arab state, even an ally, to assimilate the highly advanced F- 35? This is much more serious than a ski resort. The F- 35 issue has been heating up lately. All sides are walking on thin ice. Israel will want to freeze this entire issue, while the UAE seeks to put a hold on any annexation in the West Bank.

The UAE and Israel never fought against each other, so there is no bad blood here. The two states share similar political, military and economic interests, as well as a ski resort. They can overcome their differences without sliding into each other.

About the Author
Dr. Ehud Eilam has been dealing and studying Israel’s national security for more than 25 years. He served in the Israeli military and later on he worked for the Israeli Ministry of Defense. He is now a writer and an independent researcher. He has a Ph.D and he had published five books He lives now near Boston, MA. His email:
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