Israel’s newly-appointed ambassador to the United Arab Emirates has made a number of statements highly critical of the normalization of ties with the UAE, it emerged on Monday.
Amir Hayek, president of the Israel Hotel Association and a political supporter of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, was named to the ambassadorship on Sunday.
Israeli journalists immediately delved into Hayek’s record and discovered that he has been against the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, that an oil transport agreement would endanger Israel’s security, and that the country is a source of coronavirus infection carried by returning Israeli tourists.
Hayek mocked the small nation’s F-35 acquisition as akin to a fad, writing that “sometimes I have a feeling — an F-35 is something everyone will eventually have at home.”
He retweeted Ayelet Shaked’s remark last year that “mass COVID-spreading parties in Dubai without purple badge rules and without tests upon arrival, and in Israel the hotels are closed.”
Another comment referred to an Israel-UAE oil transport deal as a “security danger” and an “ecological danger.”
“The EAPC signed a deal with the Emirates,” Hayek tweeted. “The deal includes the transportation of immense amounts of oil through Eilat and Ashkelon. And who wasn’t updated? The infrastructure ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry. And who will be in danger? All of us. And why was there no orderly discussion? No reason. Because there are no orderly discussions and groundwork. This is unnecessary… stop it now!”
The Environmental Protection Ministry announced yesterday that it has suspended the deal until the environmental impact can be reassessed.
Of course, those comments were made while Binyamin Netanyahu was prime minister. The current government is different.
The foreign minister’s office dismissed the reports on Monday, saying: “The days in which positions in the country were determined by tweets and Facebook stalking are over. All positions will be determined by professional criteria.”