Israel Sends Huge First-Ever Trade Delegation to Dubai
Mission of 400 Israeli business people and officials are at the UAE’s annual high-tech trade show, where a UAE official says bilateral trade will reach $5 billion.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
A huge delegation of 400 Israelis including senior leaders from the government sector and leading Israeli high-tech companies are in the United Arab Emirates this week meeting the Arab counterparts at Gitex Technology Week, the biggest innovation exhibition in the Gulf.
It’s the first time Israel is officially participating at the trade fair, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the mission to Dubai shows “the shaping of real substance for the diplomatic relations between our countries since the signing of the peace agreement,” concluded only two months ago.
As part of GITEX, Israel and the UAE co-sponsored the Israel Future Digital Economy Summit, a forum between the two countries whose goal is to mold the discourse between Israeli and Emirati businesses and private actors to increase state cooperation between the countries, particularly in the fields of innovation and technology.
Omar Al Olama, the UAE Minister of State for AI, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, said the normalization of ties with Israel presents a number of opportunities and the UAE could become Israel’s largest trading partner.
“We estimate at least $5 billion trade in the beginning between the UAE and Israel and it will increase as there are many opportunities,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of the Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation. “From the technology side, we see huge opportunities. We never looked at it earlier, but … port facilities will allow us to link our ports in Europe to the Middle East.”
Several major Israeli start-ups are taking part in GITEX, which is the biggest live in-person event in the UAE since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think I’m dreaming,” said Adiv Baruch, the Chairman of the Israel Export Institute. “We are here because our leaders have decided to set aside our history.”
The peace movement between Israel and the Gulf Arab states also appears to be contagious. The head of Arabic social media at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Yonatan Gonen, tweeted that a public opinion poll conducted by the Elaph online Arabic newspaper showed that a 63% majority of residents in Arab states want to visit Israel if and when it becomes legal in their country.
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