ABU DHABI, ?Within the framework of enhancing and developing future cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and for strengthening the cultural relations in the interest of the two friendly countries, the UAE National Archives and the Israeli National Library signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

It aimed for supporting shared goals, boosting programs and activities of mutual benefit, and cooperating in cultural activities in a way that serves the interest of the international cultural and documentary heritage sector in both countries.

The MoU was signed remotely by Dr. Abdullah Muhammad Al Raisi, Director General of the UAE National Archives, and Oren Weinberg, CEO of the National Library of Israel.

The procedures of the signing ceremony of the MoU took place remotely and were transmitted through interactive technologies in implementation of the precautionary measures required by the current pandemic. The event was conducted in the presence of Mohammed Mahmoud Al Khaja, the UAE Ambassador to Israel, Eitan Naeh, Chargé d'Affaires of the Israeli Embassy to the UAE, Juma’a Al Rumaithi, Board Member of the National Archives and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Abdullah Majed Al-Ali, Executive Director of the National Archives, David Bloomberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Library of Israel, Dr. Raquel Ukeles, Head of Collections at the National Library of Israel, and officials from both institutions.

Dr. Hamad Abdul Rahman Al Midfa, Secretary General of Federal Supreme Council Affairs, Chairman of the National Archives Board of Directors, praised the signing of this agreement and stressed its importance in enhancing cooperation between cultural institutions in the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and its role in strengthening relations between the two countries in general.

On this occasion, Dr. Abdullah Muhammad Al-Raisi, Director General of the National Archives, said: "We are meeting today to lay a new building block in building the partnership between the UAE and Israel, and we are aware of the great importance of these new relations for both parties as they support common goals in enriching the cultural and documentary heritage sector in both countries. Meanwhile, it supports programs and activities of mutual benefit. Those who contemplate the UAE National Archives and the Israeli National Library and their richness in manuscripts and historical documents in all forms can realize the importance of cooperation and complementarity between them and the positive results that will accrue to them as a result of this cooperation."

He also added: "We must also signal the importance of the experiences that both the National Archives and the Israeli National Library have undergone and the advanced work mechanisms in both edifices, which will open new horizons for further progress in the future". He also pointed out that the National Archives has been able to spread its wings across the world to reach more archives and most advanced global libraries, to benefit from their long experiences, and to obtain documents that come at the core of its interest while documenting the memory of the nation for the coming generations. He said: "Nowadays, we, at the National Archives, are trying to complete our mission by accessing the holdings of the Israeli National Library to enhance the holdings of the National Archives with more documents and to provide its library with books and periodicals that were published in the Hebrew language, which began to attract a group of intellectuals and those who are interested in history, heritage and contemporary sciences."

He further added: "The strategy of exchanging knowledge and experiences between successful institutions, implementing joint training programs in the field of archiving, cooperating in cultural activities, activating collaboration in seminars, conferences, and workshops, exchanging publications, and participating in exhibitions and other things, is not a cultural luxury per se but a necessity as well. We must seize the opportunity to activate this agreement and achieve benefits from it for both parties.'' Al-Raisi expressed his gratitude to the Israeli National Library for its coordination and keenness to cooperate with the National Archives and stressed the importance of work to develop robust plans to activate the terms of the memorandum of cooperation in the near future for the interest of the two institutions that accordingly serves the interests of the two friendly countries.

David Bloomberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Library of Israel, said on this occasion: "I have no doubt that making a real leap forward guarantees a lasting peace and friendly relations. Over time, this cooperation will be in the field of cultural relations and in the importance of respecting other cultures."

Bloomberg also added that the close cooperation between the National Archives of the United Arab Emirates and the National Library of Israel will be the cornerstone in ensuring friendly relations for the mutual benefit of the two countries in the future.

In addition, Dr. Raquel Ukeles, Head of Collections at the National Library of Israel, said: "We are committed to provide access to our resources to a diverse audience in Israel and around the world. Tens of thousands of researchers from across the Middle East annually use our digital collections of rare manuscripts, historical journalism, and other materials. Our new regional partnership with the National Archives of the United Arab Emirates, will reinforce our shared goals embodied in preserving cultural heritage, and making it accessible to users of all ages and backgrounds in Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and from around the region and the world.'' In conclusion, everyone thanked Mohammed Mahmoud Al Khaja, Ambassador of the UAE to Israel, and Eitan Naeh, Eitan Naeh, Chargé d'Affaires of the Israeli Embassy to the UAE, for their invaluable efforts that facilitated coordination between the two parties in order to sign the Memorandum of Understanding.

The MoU included many items that dealt with the importance of exchanging documents, providing the opportunity for each party to search the sources of libraries and archives for their history. The Memorandum of Understanding also stressed the importance of exchanging experts in the field of libraries and archives to exchange knowledge and experiences, and to implement training programs. In the field of archives, the articles of the memorandum included cooperation in cultural activities that promote cultural exchange such as seminars, conferences, workshops, employee training, exchange of publications, exhibitions, and others.

Source: Emirates News Agency