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Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

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Florida
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Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

My wife and I live with our three young daughters (all under age 5) in Florida. I have been offered a truly amazing job in Abu Dhabi, beginning this fall. Incredible opportunity, 2 year commitment and terrific compensation/expat package.

The hitch is that we are Jewish and, although we are not especially active in our religious practices (we're reform Jews, not orthodox or conservative), we have serious concerns about our safety, as well as about our general comfort level living in a largely Muslim country. My wife, who has not yet been to the UAE (I've been a few times now), is terrified at the thought of this move and what her day-to-day existence (and that of our daughters) will be like. Does anyone have thoughts about whether our young Jewish family will feel comfortable/safe/welcome/happy moving to Abu Dhabi? Are there other young Jewish families living there? Thanks in advance for any guidance....

Abu Dhabi, United...
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1. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

if u r a jew, i dont think u will be allowed the visa/entry into the arabian gulf, i mean the 6 Gulf cooperation council countries.better check with the uae embassy there.bye

Wilbraham...
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2. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

i don't think they've got quite a solid grip on religious freedom there just yet. it is a dominantly muslim country after all.

Florida
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3. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

Thanks for your replies....an important point to clarify....we are American citizens with American passports. (I know people with Israeli passports and people with non-Israeli passports that have Israeli stamps do have trouble getting into the UAE.....that's not us....). Although we are of Jewish heritage, we are basically secular Americans (we don't speak Hebrew, don't wear clothing or religious articles that would obviously identify us as Jewish, etc.). Our Jewish religious practices are limited and occur only at home, as part of family traditions/celebrations, etc.

Dubai, United Arab...
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4. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

An American passport should get you in, though everyday live, I suppose, would also much depend on your surname and as to other young families of the same faith living there, who's to say - it's not like they would actually advertise this fact.

Bottom line is that the UAE is not exactly a country of choice to move to for believers of certain faiths - we're talking about a country where, if you buy a diary with world-map pages attached at a bookshop, you will find a big white nothingness were normally you'd find the country we're not supposed to talk about here ;-) Oh, that's apart from the "occupied territories" which will obviously be on the map.

A country were the telecom providers block every Internet domain ending in .is just in case ;-)

Abu Dhabi, United...
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5. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

gulf wanderer is right.regarding religious freedom, its a very tolerable islamic state.i, myself a hindu have no problem in this islamic land since 30 years!!have visited temples etc,all religions are fine, but i think jews are a no no..more becoz of the political stuff...so better check up. american citizens need no visa on arrival and are welcome, but i feel,certain regional policies have to be followed, even if u r an american...

Dubai, United Arab...
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6. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

You won't be able to practice your religion publically and although I hate to say this, it would probably be a good idea to keep your religion and religious views under wraps. I know of one or two people who are of Jewish extraction with readily recognisable Jewish who have lived happily in Dubai for some years but their religious background may not mean quite so much to them as yours does to you.

It depends upon the circles you move in but I certainly have young Arab colleagues and acquaintances with very strong anti-Jewish feelings, which they don't conceal. The state of Israel is not recognised here, it's inked out on maps, for example. Things are changing but you'll still sometimes come across quite fervent anti-Zionist rhetoric in newspapers.

I realise much of the above may appear quite shameful but it is a reality. I can't believe security would ever be an issue but can understand your wife's anxiety if her religion and being able to openly practice it is immensely important to her.

Liverpool
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7. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

I am in exactly the same position as you jsh62 except I am from england and not america. I am not married but cohabitate with a non-jewish girl. We are looking at moving to Abu Dhabi in the next 6 months, or whenever we can finalise a position with a company. To look at me you would not believe i was jewish (if you know what i mean) so I could probably get away with not identifying my religious beliefs. I do have a jewish surname so think this could case a problem when i get there.

At the end of the day, if you find problems out there all you have to do is come home. But you will never know until you get there what its like for sure.

Good luck with the move.

All i have to do is find a potion which suits now !!!

United Kingdom
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for Mauritius, Grand Baie
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8. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

You should post this on the Dubai forum as you will get more replies.

A similar question was asked last year, and it seemed that there were quiet a few Jewish people working in Dubai with no problems.

You should be aware that in many Muslim Middle East countries, Jews have special protection given by the governments to worship freely. In Tunisia for example, The Grand Rabbi is a government funded post.

Abu Dhabi, United...
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9. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

I don't think you will have any problems if you don't have an Israeli passport or Israeli stamps in your passport. The UAE is a very welcoming country to every other religion. As long as you don't look/dress Jewish you'd be fine. You'll be able to practice your religion in your own home no problems but be aware that if you are shipping goods from your home country you cannot bring anything remotely religious, my removal guys tried to talk me out of taking my christening bible but I snuck it through anyway.

I don't think having a Jewish surname makes much difference these days - people have married from different cultures for so long now that you could have a very Jewish surname but have no connection to the religion at all.

Swansea, United...
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10. Re: Jewish Family in Abu Dhabi?

Hi Pippanda

You mentioned Israeli stamps in your passport, I have 2, from 2 one day visits, would that stop me entering Abu Dhabi?

Regards

barbarah