Israel Mourns Passing of United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed

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(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool)

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The president of the United Arab Emirates has died. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who over saw the Arab country’s rapid economic transformation and was president when the UAE joined the Abraham Accords deal to normalize relations with Israel, had been in office since 2004. He was 73.

Sheikh Khalifa also ruled over Abu Dhabi, the largest and wealthiest of the UAE’s seven sheikhdoms. His younger brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is expected to succeed him.

The UAE public and private sector will close for three days in mourning.

President Isaac Herzog mourned the king’s death in a statement.

“On behalf of the people of Israel I send my deepest condolences to my friend Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed and his family on the death of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. This is a great loss for our friends in the UAE and for the whole region.

“Sheikh Khalifa’s bold leadership contributed so much to the advancement of the UAE and its people and to the growing partnership between our countries and is a great legacy for his successors. His life’s work pushed the Middle East to new horizons of prosperity and cooperation,” he said.

“On my behalf and that of the Government and citizens of Israel, I express my condolences to my friend Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and to the Government and people of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the passing of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

“Sheikh Khalifa’s great legacy and deeds were appreciated by many in Israel. The State of Israel stands alongside the UAE and its people at this difficult time.”

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