The Israeli Culture and Sports Minister, Miri Regev, has been invited to attend the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Judo tournament later this month and accompany the national team.
The Israeli news site Ynet News published a letter dated 2 October, in which the President of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Marius Vizer invited Regev to the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, assuring her that Israeli competitors will be allowed to compete. In the letter, he also invited her for the purpose of signing an agreement to host the Tel Aviv Grand Prix, saying “the International Judo Federation will make all the necessary arrangements for your visit.”
The UAE has no official ties with Israel and Israeli passport holders are not permitted to enter the country.
The invitation comes a month after the UAE said it would allow the Israeli national anthem to be played and the Israeli flag to be flown in the upcoming competition after it was threatened with cancellation.
Regev’s attendance is likely be seen as the latest act of normalisation by the UAE, despite its official non-recognition of Israel. In August, an Israeli journalist claimed that an Emirati pilot participated in the bombing of Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip in July during his training on Israeli Air Force F-35 fighters. Cohen, the journalist who made the claims, also accused Dubai’s Deputy Chairman of Police and Public Security, General Dhahi Khalfan, of being complicit in assassinating Hamas leader Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010.
In June, an exposé by the New Yorker revealed that Israel and the UAE have been engaged in secret normalisation talks since the 1990s.
Last year, Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister, Miri Regev, appeared on the red carpet for the annual Cannes Film Festival wearing a provocative dress emblazoned with a panorama of the iconic Jerusalem skyline, drawing political and satirical responses from people on social media.