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With no relations between the two countries — in fact, they are technically at war — it is nothing short of historic that Lebanon and Israel have agreed to engage in talks over its maritime border, let alone that those opening talks were deemed “productive” by all parties.

The negotiations — which just began Wednesday — are being held under the direction of the United States and the United Nations who said in a joint statement that the delegates had “reaffirmed their commitment to continue negotiations later this month.”

Neither Israel nor Lebanon are operating under the illusion that a border dispute resolution would lead to normalization or peace, following the historic agreements between Israel with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. 

In fact, Hezbollah and another Shiite party, Amal, issued a statement warning of just that.

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Israelis — moved after hearing that Juha’s Guesthouse, a small hostel in an Arab seaside town in Israel, was in danger of closing down due to a second nationwide lockdown — donated enough money to save the small business.

Unlike what the BDS movement would have you believe, Israel is a model of Jewish-Arab coexistence in many locations across the country. Juha’s Guesthouse, established six years aogo by Ahmad (Juha) Jorban and his Israeli partner Neta Henien, is one such example. 

The pair sought to develop the small fishing town by attracting Israelis to stay there. They even offer Arabic language classes to Israelis and have mangled to attract thousands of local and some foreign tourists inbthe past few years.

“Language brings hearts together and it helps to change prejudices,” Jorban said.

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One of the most visible signs of Israel’s peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates came during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot: A public sukkah was erected in front of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai — an amazing and first of its kind gesture. 

Dubai’s local authorities, security forces and the Jewish community worked together to build the traditional tent that represents the Feast of Tabernacles holiday. The head rabbi of Dubai’s Jewish community, Rabbi Levi Duchman, unveiled the sukkah before the holiday began last Friday evening.

“The Jewish community here lives in safety and peace thanks to the authorities,” Duchman said. “In the sukkah, as well as in the synagogue, we will pray for authorities’ success and for the health of Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.”

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The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed declared “never again” after visiting a Holocaust memorial in Germany with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday.

Zayed left a message written in Arabic and English in the visitors’ book at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe memorial in Berlin, describing the site as “a witness to the fall of a group of human beings who were victims of advocates of extremism and hatred.”

“Whatever led to the murder of millions of innocent victims will not happen again,” Sheikh Abdullah added and emphasized that the UAE’s message to the world is one of “peace, tolerance and hope,” according to a statement by the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Israel has for now extended by a seven days a three-week national lockdown which was scheduled to end Oct. 11. 

Though with no existing plan for an exit strategy, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s prediction that the lockdown could last up to a year, few believe the nation will return to any sense of normalcy at the end of next week.

The lockdown was supposed to last during the Jewish holidays during which schools and some businesses would have been shut down anyway. But in addition, protests, prayers and other activities have been severely limited, while many businesses have been shuttered entirely such as restaurants, gyms and malls plus national parks, museums and other tourist sites. 

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