DUBAI (VINnews) — A huge delegation of 400 Israelis including senior members of the government sector and leading Israeli high-tech companies are in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week meeting with their Arab counterparts at Gitex Technology Week, according to a report by United With Israel’s Yakir Benzion.
GITEX (“Gulf Information Technology Exhibition”) is an annual consumer computer and electronics trade show, exhibition, and conference that takes place in Dubai, UAE at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
It’s the first time Israel is officially participating at the trade fair, and the Israeli 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.
Gonen tweeted a clip in which a UAE citizen welcomed members of the delegation in Hebrew, telling them that the UAE is “their second home”.