Photo Credit: Ofir Gendelman, PMO / via Twitter
Players from the National Rugby Teams of Israel and United Arab Emirates after a friendly match played in Dubai, Friday 20 March 2021

Israel’s national rugby team defeated their United Arab Emirates counterparts 33-0 on Friday in a friendly game held in Dubai at the Dubai Stadium.

“We are looking forward to more friendly matches between Israeli and Emirati sports teams,” wrote Ofir Gendelman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesperson to the Arab media.

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The two teams played in a match called the Abraham Accord Friendship Cup, after the name of the normalization agreement signed by Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and the US last year at the White House.

Due to the pandemic, there were no fans in the stadium.

After that first match, the two teams mixed it up a little with players from both sides on each team, dubbed “blue” and “white” for a second game. The “white” team won that match 50-40.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin sent his congratulations to the teams in a video message, lauding the “new spirit of people-to-people peace following the historic Abraham Accords.”

Leaders may sign peace agreements, Rivlin commented, but “true peace requires people on both sides to build bonds of friendship and cooperation in every arena.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.