Ahmed Obeid Al Mansouri, a historian, devoted to raising awareness of the Holocaust and Zionism, says the letter handwritten by Herzl was purchased for his Dubai Zionism museum; ‘It is important that the young generation in the Arab countries is familiar with Herzl and Zionism’
A rare hand-written letter by Theodor Herzl was presented to the 125th anniversary of the first Zionist Congress in Basel on Sunday by a citizen of the United Arab Emirates. Ahmed Obeid Al Mansouri, a former member of the UAE National Council, purchased the letter to exhibit it in a museum in Dubai.
Al Mansouri said he had purchased the letter in 2016 in Vienna. In the letter, Herzl rejects the request of an unidentified person to join a social club he was promoting. The artifact went through several authenticity tests, and it is confirmed that it is indeed written in Herzl’s handwriting.
A qualified historian, Al Mansouri said that Jews always played an important role in the Middle East. “I am committed to telling the story of the Jewish nation and the Zionist chapter to the Arab world,” he said. “I am not a Zionist, but it is important that young Arabs countries are familiar with Herzl and Zionism, and that they learn the facts and formulate their opinion,” he said.
“I was invited to the event in Basel and was very happy to come because we have peace with Israel,” he said.
“Herzl was a very important leader, not a man of dreams but rather a man with a vision,” he continued. “I look at it from a historical perspective, not a political one. I cannot identify myself with Zionism; I am not a part of it, but he was the father of modern Zionism, and it is a big honor for me to exhibit his letter in my museum,” Al Mansouri said.
On the eve of Holocaust remembrance day last year, a new section was inaugurated dedicated to the Holocaust, which has since become popular amongst students, tourists, and visiting delegations. Al Mansouri also opened a political center where discussions are held to promote understanding between the three monotheistic religions.