Mohamed Al Khaja: The First UAE Ambassador to Israel

Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khaja took office on 14 February 2021 as the first ambassador to Israel in the country's history, after the cabinet of the United Arab Emirates approved the opening of an embassy in Tel Aviv.

The move came following UAE agreement to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel last September under the Abraham Accords, a deal brokered by former US President Donald Trump. It was the first public normalization agreement between an Arab country and Israel since Egypt’s in 1979 and Jordan’s in 1994. Israel opened its UAE embassy in January and the two countries have already signed treaties on direct flights and visa-free travel, along with accords on investment protection, science and technology.

Al Khaja was sworn in as the Emirati Ambassador to Israel, before Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Deputy Premier Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed last month.

He vowed to respect the UAE's constitution and laws, work sincerely to prioritize the Emirates' interests, and keep the State secrets while performing his diplomatic tasks and Dubai Ruler wished Al Khaja success in his new role and called on him to strengthen a culture of peace, co-existence and tolerance between the countries.

Al Khaja has met with Israel’s temporary ambassador in the UAE Eitan Na’eh, in Abu Dhabi. The Israeli embassy is currently working from a temporary office until a permanent location can be found.

Mr Al Khaja was born in 1980 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and he is married and a father to four children. He has spent many years studying in several countries. He holds a degree in Political Science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and a Master of Business Administration from the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Prior to his position as an ambassador, he was the chief of staff to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, where was appointed in 2010. In the ministry, he held a number of key positions such as being a member of the political affairs council and the diplomatic committee as well as serving as chairman of the budget committee.

Besides, he  has taken roles in energy management, disarmament, business development for Mubadala Investment Company, Borouge, and The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. In his capacity as a member of the Board of Trustees of the prominent Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi, since 2018, Al Khaja is involved in academic activities,

 Al Khaja who is 40 years old, has a great career experience both in the field of diplomacy and in the business world. Earlier Monday, Khaja met Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem, who wished him "success" in his "historic mission" and he said: “I am very proud and honored to be the first Emirati ambassador to the State of Israel".

After he arrived to Tel Aviv on 1 March, Al Khaja tweeted that he met the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss growing bilateral relations since the signing of the Abraham Accords, as well as enhancing cooperation in various fields.

Al Khajah has opened a Twitter account that posts messages in both English and Hebrew. So far he has gained nearly 32,000 followers.

Outside his office hours, he enjoys motocross, cycling and water skiing as well as running and football. However, most of his time now is expected to be spent on his important diplomatic mission.