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Israel launches first ever undergrad course on UAE studies

March 16, 2023 at 3:44 pm

Zaga shared a picture of the classroom, which she said was full to capacity [@moran_zaga via Twitter]

An Israeli university has for the first time launched a certified undergraduate course on the UAE, one of four Arab states to normalise relations with Israel as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020.

The course, titled ‘The Geopolitics of the UAE’ started on Sunday and is offered by the Hebrew University’s Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. According to a report by Jewish Insider, the course will explore the Gulf state’s history and influential role in the region, in addition to its political policies which have informed its decision to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

The founder of the programme, Moran Zaga, and one of the few academics focussing on the UAE in Israel was quoted by Jewish Insider as saying: “The Abraham Accords is only a small part of the course.”

“The central question that we will explore is the stable foundations of the United Arab Emirates, and within that we will learn about the country’s physical geographical, its social geography, its history, about the tribes that make up its population, the structure of its political authority and its political and economic principles,” she explained.

On the first day of the course, Zaga shared a picture of the classroom, which she said was full to capacity with many more students on the waiting list. Zaga said that the class will meet once a week, with the students making visits to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and meeting with Emiratis and others who work in the field.

In January, the UAE became the first Arab country to introduce studies on the Holocaust in secondary schools as part of the national curriculum. The decision was praised by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which described the move as “historic”.

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