“We’re passing over Saudi Arabia, then crossing over Jordan to arrive in Ben Gurion airport in about 40 minutes,” intones the pilot of a low-cost flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv. The plane is packed. A smattering of Emiratis keen to do business in Israel occupy the front seats. More raucous Israeli Jews and Palestinians returning from holiday weekends in the Gulf sit farther back. “Sababa le-gamrei!” (Hebrew for “bloody brilliant”), exclaims an Israeli student, describing her trip. In the two years since the United Arab Emirates (uae) and Israel signed the Abraham accords, more than half a million Israelis have made the journey. After a century of Jewish and Arab conflict, the trip already feels normal. Soon there will be 20 flights a day between the two countries.

A Jewish community had taken seed in Dubai, the glitziest of the Emirates’ seven statelets, even before the accords were signed. But since then it has sprung into the open, growing from hundreds to thousands of Jewish residents, many of them Israeli.

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