Following the normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel last month, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism will advise all hotel establishments throughout the emirate to include kosher food and beverage options on room service and dining room menus for incoming tourists and visitors.
“Based on the commitment of the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi to ensure certain foods are available for all visitors and tourists in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, please note that all hotel establishments are advised to include kosher food options on room service menus and at all food and beverage outlets in their establishments,” the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism wrote in a memo to hotel managers.
In preparation for this rollout, the department is instructing all hotel establishments to seek kosher certifications for the handling of kosher foods meals.
Hotel staff will also be tasked with designating an area in their kitchen for the preparation and storage of kosher foods.
Additionally, these items are to be clearly marked with a “visible label/reference” displaying a recognizable symbol that indicates the food is indeed kosher – which is required in the certification.
The Orthodox Union said on Tuesday that it will be the leading kosher certification agency in the UAE.
The leadership of the UAE requested that the OU take up the position after it handled kosher food during the visit to the UAE by an Israeli and U.S. delegation last week.
“As the Jewish community in the United Arab Emirates continues to grow and due to the influx of Jewish tourists, there is a need for kosher food and a certification that is internationally known,” said OU Kosher CEO Rabbi Menachem Genack. “We thank the UAE government for reaching out to us to provide this service and are looking forward to partnering with the local Jewish community to provide kosher food and certification.”
Rabbi Yissachar Krakowski of OUK flew from Israel to the UAE to facilitate all of the kosher food approval for the U.S. and Israeli delegation last week.
Krakowski has experience with kosher catering in the Gulf, having organized kosher meals for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations when they visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia.