Dubai Conference

“Peace treaties represent the choice of light over darkness,” says Bank Leumi chairman

Dr. Samer Haj-Yehia remains hopeful for further peace initiatives during Israel-Dubai conference taking place in Dubai

Naomi Zoreff 11:5025.11.20



“Peace between our countries proves that a vision that only a few months ago was seen as a real miracle, became a reality in our time,” Bank Leumi chairman Dr. Samer Haj-Yehia said during the Israel-Dubai conference in Dubai taking place on Wednesday. Yehia recalled the approaching Hanukkah holiday and said “the holiday is embedded in many values that stand at the basis of the Abraham Accords that were signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain: the victory of light over darkness, taking responsibility for our futures, while seeing the good, and taking heroic action,” he said.


“The darkness cloaks itself in many forms which come to mind, whether they be frozen relations, discrimitaion, prejudice, or boycotting one another. In order to banish darkness, we must drown it out with light. Even a single small candle can empower the flame of unity, mutual respect, tolerance, and general sectorial peace; it’s up to us,” Yehia said. “As written in the Hanukkah hymn: Everyone is a small light, but together we are a much stronger light.”


Yehia recalled how this past month Jews around the world read the Torah portion of “Chayei Sarah” that is recognized in the three Abarhamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The portion discusses how Abraham wished to purchase the Cave of the Patriarchs from Efron in order to bury his wife Sarah. “The purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs, a place that is considered sacred to Jews and Muslims today, is the first mention of a peace deal in the Bible. We are all here today, the children of Abraham, and are continuing to fulfill his vision today during this joint conference through dialogue, business relations, and joint economic ventures in the path of peace and for the common good.”


Indians recently celebrated the holiday of Diwali, and Yehia mentioned in his speech that Christmas and Hanukkah that will be celebrated next month are similar and all recall the victory of light over darkness. He noted that “I am full of hope that our joint path toward establishing peace will pave the way for other countries in the region to join us in the journey of spreading light and optimism, for a better future for our children and for the entire region. The UAE-Israel conference which got underway today is an expression of light that is embedded in the Abraham Accords. The more we learn to get to know one another, to understand the needs of the other, and to build long term relations that are based on trust, we will turn business potential between two nations into something that is everlasting. Bank Leumi is proud to lead the business relations between the countries, and will help advance them through human, financial, and business capital with our 120 years of experience.”


Yehia also turned to the Arabs in the audience and said in Arabic: “My name is Samer Haj Muhammad Haj Selim Haj Yehia, I am an Arab national, Palestinian, Muslim, Israeli, and American head of Bank Leumi, one of the leading and most stable banks in the Middle East.”


“We are faced with an important task: to deepen the bonds of unity and commitment but first through the human partnerships we have built. We are looking forward to learning from your rich experience and to join you with ours too. We are here to conquer the horizons of joint economic and trade ventures to enrich all sectors with benefits that will grow from our partnership,” he said.