A force for good

On October 8th, 2020, eleven Muslim and Jewish women sat around a table in Jerusalem and talked warmly with each other about the likes of their families, business and peace. This, the inaugural meeting of the Gulf Israel Women’s Council was co-founded and hosted by Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, the very popular Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and one of Israel’s rising stars. Fleur was also central to other discussions which took place in Dubai following the historical Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. 

A pragmatic strategist and unquenchable optimist, Fleur foresaw the vital importance of economic ties for peace, and so co-founded the UAE-Israel Business Council way before the Abraham Accords were signed. 

Working for peace is not new to Fleur. She has spent much time in office trying to incorporate every student in her constituency into the Israeli-Arab school curriculum. This has been met with some marked success, even though some Arabs insist on using the UNRWA/Palestinian Authority curriculum, notorious for content that contains incitement against Jews. 

Never one to pass the buck, Fleur sees these Arab children as her responsibility. When children are being taught to hate, it hampers a future coexistence which she knows only too well. Thus, she has fearlessly tackled the “big boys,” famously going on record by saying, “if the United Nations doesn’t bring anything for the people it’s purporting to help, it can get out of my city.” 

No less enjoyable for Israelis, was her recent appearance on CNN which came on the tail of her visit to the UAE. It was a remarkable interview in so many ways. Brushing over the importance of the UAE-Israel Business Council where Israel’s technology and innovation ecosystem, will combine with the UAE’s finance, trade, and logistics – and all to build a brighter future for the entire region – the interviewer seemed visibly disappointed that there was no real ammunition to fire against Israel, an attitude that was both noticed yet gloriously ignored by the Deputy Mayor who smiled from ear to ear through the interview and focused entirely on the future investment in the Jewish capital and the bright prospects of peace. 

By providing hi-tech jobs and good salaries to Eats Jerusalem’s Arabs, Fleur is determined  that the strategy and work of UAE-Israel Business Council will undermine the futility of hate and child abuse spewed out by the Palestinian Authority.  Her approach is both refreshing and simple: building peace from the ground up.

Her CV is no less extraordinary than her ideas. The daughter of Sir Joshua Abraham Hassan, the first mayor and chief minister of Gibraltar, Fleur studied law at Kings College, London and qualified as a barrister, practicing in England before finally coming home to Israel in 2001. A native Spanish speaker, the trilingual Deputy Mayor is also the mother of four adorable teenagers, (who also speak flawless English and Hebrew) and is currently the only British politician in Israel. 

Yet beyond her outstanding achievements, is a trait all too sadly absent among the world of cut-throat politicians; kindness. No matter what someone’s creed, color, or economic  status, there is a always a place for them at her Shabbat table. And despite her insanely busy schedule, the Deputy Mayor treats kings, queens, artists and felafel-sellers alike, offering impartially her time, her kindness and a listening ear.