The Israel Pavilion officially celebrated its opening at Expo2020 Dubai, welcoming visitors from all 191 countries. The inauguration event was hosted by the Minister of Tourism, Yoel Razvozov and Elazar Cohen, Commissioner General of the Israel Pavilion. Speeches by high-ranking officials included Dr Ahmad Belhoul, UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises; Najeeb Mohammed Alali, Executive Director of the Commissioner General Office, Expo 2020; and Eli Cohen, Corporate secretary general, KKL-JNF.
The event began with a traditional Mezuzah ceremony performed by Rabbi Levi Duchman. The Mezuzah Case was made and designed exclusively for the Dubai Expo 2020 by famous Judaica Artist David Roytman. Hanging a mezuzah on a doorpost is an ancient Jewish practice that fulfils a biblical commandment from Deuteronomy to write the words of the Lord on the doorposts of one's home. This was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony, performed by the Minister of Tourism and Commissioner General.
Minister Razvozov said in his opening remarks: “I'm truly delighted to be standing here as a representative of the Israeli people and the Israeli government at the opening of Israel's National Pavilion at Expo2020 Dubai. Many things are happening here for the first time. For the first time in history, the EXPO fair is being held in an Arab country. It is also the first time there is an Israeli pavilion in a major fair on Arab soil. It is one of the most sound and robust steps toward cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Israel in history.
“Peace allows us to forge a new reality in the Middle East that will bring prosperity, security and stability to all. We believe that in order to reach a better tomorrow, one should choose practical and positive actions today. So, I'm delighted to invite each and every one of you and each and every visitor, participant, and host at this EXPO to come and visit our country. Come and see for yourself what Israel is really about. Tourism allows us to explore, learn from and accommodate each other. Tourism will build a human bridge to peace!”The event concluded with a performance by Hamalgezot, an Israeli band playing traditional Israeli music for the 250 attendees, which was followed by an Israeli D.J. Abass who wrapped up the inauguration with an Israeli party scene.