The United Arab Emirates, which is known for its close unofficial ties with Israel, brought family members from London and Yemen to meet in Abu Dhabi after a 15-year separation.
The United Arab Emirates official news agency said Sunday the country helped reunite a Jewish family from Yemen that had been separated for 15 years.
No details of the family name nor the reason for the separation were released, but the agency posted pictures and a video of the family on its website in which family members spoke in Arabic and English expressing their joy and thanks to the UAE for help reuniting the family.
“The family, who are Jewish, were able to reunite after authorities in the UAE facilitated the travel of family members from Yemen to the UAE. Authorities also made arrangements for other members of the family, who lived in London, to join them,” the Emirates News Agency WAM reported.
“It was nothing short of a miracle and the realization of an impossible dream,” one of the sons said. “We thank the UAE for their great support in arranging the reunion.”
Some Jews are still living in Yemen, which is embroiled in a major civil war. The majority of Yemen’s Jewish population moved to Israel in the 1950s, and over the years others fled to the U.S. and England.
News of the family reunion appears to be a move by UAE leader Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to push the message that his country wants to maintain its position of showing religious tolerance and openness in a region more known for sectarian strife.
Owing to its vast oil wealth, the UAE has been able to punch above its weight despite its small population of under ten million. Its national airline, Emirates, is the largest in the Middle East and a major sponsor of some of Europe’s biggest professional soccer teams.
Last month the country launched a probe to the planet Mars, a major accomplishment that only a few other countries have attempted.
In June, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said communication with Israel was important and would yield better results than other routes taken in the past.
The Emirates also has a tiny Jewish community, mostly foreign business people who work in the country, which appears to be benefiting from the warming ties between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.