Ahmed Obaid AlMansoori spoke Monday at the event marking the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, where he revealed a rare letter handwritten and signed by Theodor Herzl currently on display at his museum in Dubai. He acquired this letter in 2016 in Vienna. Written in 1897, exactly 125 years ago, it has been authenticated.
“Jews have always been an important part of the Middle East and I am committed to telling the story of the Jewish People and of Zionism to the Arab world,” said Ahmed Obaid AlMansoori, founder of the Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai and the first Holocaust Memorial Gallery in the entire Arab and Islamic world.
A former member of the UAE Federal National Council, AlMansoori spoke Monday at the event marking the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, where he revealed a rare letter handwritten and signed by Theodor Herzl currently on display at his museum in Dubai. He acquired this letter in 2016 in Vienna. Written in 1897, exactly 125 years ago, it has been authenticated. In the letter, Herzl writes that he cannot accept the prospective applicant to the organization which he established. Evidence indicates that this is a refusal to accept the applicant to the Zionist Organization, days before the First Zionist Congress in Basel.During these years, Herzl was extremely active in promoting the Zionist vision and the establishment of the a homeland for the Jewish People, while partnering with key figures who helped him advance his objectives.
AlMansoori’s museum started as a private collection in his home in 2006 and went public in 2011 at the Emirati government’s request, who identified its potential.
Located at the Royal House on the main road in the historical area of Dubai, the award-winning museum has housed historical Jewish documents, letters and coins since its established – long before the signing of the Abraham Accords peace treaties.
AlMansoori has dedicated a significant portion of his museum to displaying the rich history of the Jewish People in the Middle East, highlighting that Jews are an indigenous and important part of the region.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2021 (Yom HaShoah), and in the wake of the peace treaties signed between Israel and Arab states, AlMansoori took his commitment to promoting Jewish-Arab relations even further by establishing the first and only Holocaust Memorial Gallery in the Arab World. The Crossroads of Civilizations Museum Holocaust Memorial Gallery has evolved into an international hub for Holocaust commemoration events and ceremonies; a center for advancing peace, tolerance and Jewish-Arab solidarity in the Middle East; and an important place of gathering for the Emirati Jewish community.
“It is of upmost importance that the young generations of the Middle East will learn about Judaism, Zionism and Israel – this will strengthen peace, not only between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, but between the entire region,” he said in his address to the Basel event.
“It is important that we live side-by-side with mutual respect for one another, understanding the history and values of each nation and its people,’’ he added.
Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, said: “The unique work of H.E. AlMansoori to commemorate the Holocaust in the UAE is a worthy example for the Arab World on the importance in changing perceptions and discussion on the Holocaust and the importance of the State of Israel.”
‘’Herzl never dreamed that the day would come that a brave Arab leader would participate in a Zionist Congress together with thousands of Jews from all over the world whose goal is strengthening and development of the independent and sovereign State of Israel,” he added.