UAE Jewish community posts prayer for country’s leaders on social media

Jewish community in United Arab Emirates posts Hebrew prayer seeking God’s blessing and guidance for leaders of the UAE that one Arab diplomat calls “a beautiful video.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Jewish community in the United Arab Emirates released a Hebrew language video last week blessing the country’s leadership and armed forces.

The three-minute long prayer is sung in Hebrew and was posted in two parts on the community’s Twitter account with images of major UAE landmarks, pictures of UAE top leaders and the backs of Jewish men wearing black and white prayer shawls.

The “Prayer for the welfare of the government and UAE armed forces” has subtitles in Arabic and English and by Sunday had been viewed over 80,000 times.

The Jewish Community Center in Dubai is led by Chabad Rabbi Levi Duchman, who moved to the Middle East from New York in 2105 and is one of the Chabad organization’s rabbis who serves Jews in the region.

“Our video of the blessing is to show the world our appreciation and pride to be living in the UAE, and how gracious the leadership is,” Rabbi Duchman told the Al Arabiya newspaper.

The prayer includes, “May He who gives salvation to kings and dominion to princes… bless and protect, guard and help, exalt magnify and uplift the president of the UAE His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyah… and all the Rulers of the other Emirates and their Crown Princes.”

“Grant them life and deliver them from all manner of danger…and protect the soldiers of the United Arab Emirates.”

According to Jewish historian Rabbi Barry Schwartz, the centuries-old traditional Jewish prayer for government implores rulers to have mercy on the House of Israel, which the UAE Jewish community changed to “House of Jacob” – the biblical patriarch’s original name before God changed it to “Israel” after Jacob’s struggle with an angel in the book of Genesis.

The prayer is recited in Jewish congregations around the world, usually as part of the morning Sabbath prayer service, and is common practice at synagogues in America.

“Jewish prayer for the United States of America is as old as the country itself,” Schwartz wrote in his book on American Jewish history. “In fact, Jews were reciting the traditional prayer for government on American soil before the nation declared independence.”

At one point in the second part of the video, a person turns what appears to be a page in Arabic of either the Koran or the Bible, with a picture of the late Chabad leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson on the wall in the background.

UAE Ambassador to London Mansoor Abulhoul posted a link to the video on his own Twitter feed.

“A beautiful video from the Jewish Community of the UAE. They have recently joined Twitter and are a must follow,” Abulhoul said.

Although the video received some anti-Semitic comments, many Emiratis praised it and tweeted their support.

AbdulAziz Al Nahdi slammed the “peace haters,” saying those who posted insults showed “how low and dirty your background is.”

“We are Emiraties and anyone lives in UAE love peace and open our hearts to any one who respect humanity and peace,” Al Nahdi said, ending his tweet with icons of the UAE and Israeli flags.