Ever since the Abraham Accords were signed between the UAE and Israel in September, the government and local businesses in the UAE have worked to make the country more accessible to Jewish visitors and residents with approvals and preparations for the building of more synagogues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, among other actions. Tens of thousands of Israelis have already visited the country since the agreement was signed. And in what is only going to boost the tourist footfalls from Israel to the UAE is this latest initiative by a not-for-profit organisation called Star-K - one of the most trusted kosher certification organisations in the world. With offices throughout the U.S., Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Philippines, Sri Lanka and now in the U.A.E., STAR-K certifies plants in about 100 countries. The agency is internationally renowned for its extensive research on the complexities of food science and modern technology, as they apply to the laws of kosher, putting it on the cutting edge of the ever-growing multi-billion-dollar kosher food industry. It is also one of the foremost experts in the field of kosher pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, and medications.

Rabbi Joel Weinberger, Elli Kriel and Amin Kazi at Gulf Food 2021 (L to R)

Registered with the Dubai Municipality Food Watch & EMSA, Star-K aims to educate its partners in the food and agricultural commodities sector about kosher certification, aiding them to get certified as kosher. "STAR-K Kosher Certification has provided kosher supervision for over fifty years," said the company's president Dr. Avrom Pollak further adding that over the years, the company has gained the reputation of providing prompt friendly service with the help of our team of experts including technical staff, a network of rabbinic Kashrus administrators, food scientists and field supervisors. Dr. Pollak believes that now, in light of the Israel-UAE peace agreement, it's important to make the food industry aware of the value of kosher-certified products not only for the Jewish community here, but also for anyone looking for healthy and halal-compliant options."

The diverse nationalities in the UAE make it a perfect destination for Kosher foods to thrive here. Star-K's Regional Director  Rabbi Joel Weinberger is excited to develop the Kosher culture here in the UAE and in the greater Gulf areas similar businesses that the company has done in India. "We are differentiating that kosher is done on many levels,” he revealed.

In September 2020, when the historic deal to normalise the bilateral relations between the UAE and Israel was struck, a wave of trade, tourism and cultural co-operation swept over the UAE. And now, with this latest development of bringing Kosher certification to the country, this wave will open an ocean of opportunities and explorations.