Dhahi Khalfan, Dubai’s outspoken deputy police chief, has sparked a major online scandal after an impassioned defence of the UAE-Israel peace deal which included the suggestion that Jews are better than their "Arab cousins" at science, finance and politics.

“Peace is the pillar of development. Some say that peace with Israel has not served countries which [signed agreements with it] before and did not contribute to their development. We were already developed before peace. Peace with a respected country like Israel serves the region,” Khalfan wrote in a multipost Twitter thread.

“The Jew does not have any problems except that he is stingy and loves money a lot,” the official, who has a habit of making controversial, off-the-cuff remarks, continued. “I have read a lot about the Jews. What I found is that historically, what causes anger against them in the countries they have been in is that they control the money. Ok, this is an insult.”

“But our criticism of the Jews is meaningless, and our fears of Israeli expansion are unjustified. If nine million Jews are better than 400 million Arabs in terms of scientific, financial and political capabilities, the problem is in us, and not in the Jews. Why do we always blame the other?” Khalfan asked.

The deputy police chief added that Arabs should “learn from their cousins” in the arts of “sophistication and cunning”.

Khalfan’s tweets sparked a massive debate containing hundreds of responses. Some of his followers agreed with his sentiment, pointing to the history of infighting among Arabs or suggesting that the Israeli-Palestinian issue was not the UAE’s problem.

“Accurate diagnosis,” one user wrote. “Of course our fears of Israeli expansion are unjustified. We are not Palestine. Palestine essentially is not a sovereign state. It has no currency, no army, police, president or ministers…It has become clear that it is possible to reach an understanding with the Israelis through diplomatic channels and conclude peace treaties,” another suggested.