We sat down with Dubai-based Jewelry designer Sarah Besnaino and her husband Steve Ben-Shimol, a real-estate entrepreneur who develops hotels and luxury condos. They have been living in Dubai for the past 5 years, where they maintain their Jewish tradition and rich community life.
This is a very organized country, everything is very clear here, we have rules, we have great leaders that understand the importance of maintaining a free market, so it’s very easy to work here if you do it right. It’s extremely important to follow the rules and to do everything by the book. Although it might sound daunting, it’s definitely worth it.
Will you design a new line inspired by the new peace agreement?
It’s a beautiful country, it’s a dream to live here, people are very nice, hospitality is really really nice, they are great people, very welcoming, very warm people, it’s very safe which is one of the key benefits of living in Dubai and this is fantastic. There will be more and more business opportunities in many sectors.
What can you tell us about the Jewish community and their relationship with their Muslim neighbors?
The Jewish community in Dubai is a beautiful community, very strong with a Chabad led by Rabi Levi Duchman, and the Jewish Council of the Emirates led by Ross Kriel. We are close to both of them. My kids are going to Talmud Tora, Rabi Levi Duchman made a lot of effort to give the full cultural experience.
Were you living under the radar or openly presenting your Jewish identity?
What are your expectations from your Airbnb business and what are your plans for the Israeli tourists?
We are already in preparations for the Israeli tourists, we are trying to create agreements with Israeli travel agencies, we’re also preparing to provide the full kosher experience for kosher Israeli tourist. We have apartments near the synagogue, the main board-walk, and the Palm Jumeirah, So we are very well prepared and we are waiting for our Israeli friends to come, as well as Jewish people from around the world.
Dream inn Dubai is the name of our short-term rental company. We’re making our beautiful apartments and villas ready for the Israeli public. We have several villas with 6-7 bedrooms on the palm with a private beach and private pool, for the ultra-luxury experience.