Several Israelis could move to the UAE to work - senior official
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Several Israelis could move to the UAE to work – senior official

Several Israelis could move to the UAE to work – senior official

A quarantine-free travel corridor between the two countries will be set up very soon, says Fleur Hassan Nahoum, deputy mayor of Jerusalem

The UAE could soon see talent coming in from Israel even as collaboration between the two countries tightens, a senior official has said.

“We’re going to see a lot of talent, either relocating here or, you know, in Israel there are a lot of people who are out of the country from Mondays to Fridays – a lot of people travel every week for work,” explains Fleur Hassan Nahoum, deputy mayor of Jerusalem and co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council.

“In the old days, you would see them going to Europe and even America. Now we are going to see people doing this eastwards, to here [the UAE]. And it’s much easier, since the UAE is just three hours away.”

According to Nahoum, the movement of Israelis into the UAE will be driven by further business integration between the two nations.

“I think the thing that we both have in common is that we have the same challenges as a region to food security, water security and cybersecurity. And those are the things for which we have to come up with solutions together. And I think that we have complementary skillsets.

“Israel is very good at disruptive innovation, we are known as the startup nation. We do innovation very well, but we don’t know how to build huge companies – we don’t go to the next stages, we kind of move on to the next problem to solve as that’s something we do very instinctively. And this is why the complementary skillsets of having Dubai and UAE as a hub, as a gateway to India, China, Africa [will help]. I think that’s really significant,” she explains.

“So I think we’re going to see a lot of joint ventures [from the UAE] with innovative Israeli products as well as the movement of talent.”

Does Nahoum anticipate a reversal as well, with talent – including expats – moving from the UAE to Israel?

“I don’t know, because think about the talent that could move to Israel. I do envision, for example Indians or Pakistanis in this country, and especially the ones in technology subjects, could be fertile ground to move. We’re short of 15,000 to 20,000 engineers every single year. So [we need to] find a solution to that. Ultimately, though, all expats would need some type of work visa,” she says.

Tourism flows 

In March, the UAE and Israel began formal discussions to establish a quarantine-free travel corridor between the two countries.

The travel corridor, which would apply to passengers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, will facilitate travel for commercial, tourism, and official purposes, authorities said.

Israel currently has the highest rate of vaccine doses administered per capita, with more than half of its population having received both doses of the vaccine.

The UAE also has a high rate of vaccination, having administered over 9.78 million shots so far.

“I’m hoping that we will have a green corridor soon. I said recently that I would have expected in a regular non-coronavirus year – maybe next year – to reach a quarter of a million Gulf tourists coming to Israel for the first time. And I think at least double that of Israelis coming here,” says Nahoum.

“Since the beginning of the signing of the Abraham Accords, some 130,000 Israelis have been here. This is with closed airports, with Covid-19, and with no flights for a few months. Israelis love to travel. This [the UAE] is close, it is familiar, and it’s new as well and it’s exciting and exotic.”

Another reason why Israelis are looking to visit the UAE is because of the emotional component, stresses Nahoum.

“While we’re talking business, numbers, trade, complementary skillsets etc, people shouldn’t lose track of the emotional impact of all of this, which for Israel is finally being accepted as a regional partner, and people being so excited by having an Arab country as a friend. We can’t underestimate that.

“And one more thing is that when the UAE normalised ties with Israel,  it normalised ties with the Jewish world. So, the normalisation with Israel has basically been an open gate now to the Jewish world. And I can tell you that you’ve had thousands Jews from around the world come to Dubai since normalisation. And so, in terms of tourism for Dubai, and in terms of business with the Jewish diaspora, that’s going to be also very impactful,” she adds.

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