Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed arrives in Tel Aviv on Abraham Accords' second anniversary
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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed arrives in Tel Aviv on Abraham Accords’ second anniversary

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed arrives in Tel Aviv on Abraham Accords’ second anniversary

Besides the UAE foreign minister’s latest visit, we take stock of the key developments and events since the signing of the historic accords

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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, arrived in Tel Aviv on a state visit on Wednesday.

Sheikh Abdullah landed in the Israeli city with a high-level UAE delegation, for a visit that will span several days. The trip also coincides with the second anniversary of the historic Abraham Accords.

During his visit, the UAE’s foreign minister will meet Israeli officials to discuss issues of mutual concern and matters related to UAE-Israel relations, as well as prospects for their cooperation, official news agency WAM reported.

The trip comes six months after Sheikh Abdullah travelled to Israel in March, marking his first official visit to the state.

Read: Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed meets Israeli foreign minister on first official visit

Additionally, leaders of the two nations have met several times since the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020.

In December last year, the then Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, arrived in the UAE as part of an official visit, where he met UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Read: Israeli PM Naftali Bennett arrives in the UAE on historic visit

In January this year, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog visited the UAE too, marking the the first-ever state visit by an Israeli president to the country.

Read: Israeli President Isaac Herzog to visit UAE

In March this year, Sheikh Mohamed attended a tripartite meeting in Egypt with Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of Egypt, and the then Israeli Prime Minister.

Read more: UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed meets Israeli Prime Minister, Egyptian President

Sheikh Mohamed received Naftali Bennett at Al Shati Palace in June this year, where the Israeli PM offered his condolences on the passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Read: UAE President Sheikh Mohamed meets Israeli Prime Minister

Abraham Accords

On September 15, 2020, the UAE and Bahrain signed a landmark peace agreement with Israel at the White House to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Read: UAE, Bahrain sign historic peace accord with Israel in the US

The peace accord – touted as a bellwether of regional politics – aimed to normalise relations between nations and establish peace within the Middle East.

Following the accord, a number of agreements and initiatives were undertaken to bolster trade and collaboration between the two countries.

In 2020, Etihad Airways and Israeli national airline El Al Israel Airlines signed an MoU to explore areas of cooperation.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and El Al Israel sign MoU to cooperate on codeshare and loyalty programme

In 2021, the UAE announced the establishment of a $10bn fund aimed at strategic sectors in Israel.

Read more: UAE announces $10bn investment fund with Israel

Israel and the UAE also signed a double taxation treaty in May 2021.

Read: Israel and UAE sign tax treaty in latest normalisation step

In June of last year, UAE-based Motivate Media Group – Gulf Business‘ parent organisation – signed a partnership with Israel-based broadcaster i24 News to collaborate on producing and distributing content.

Read: UAE’s Motivate Media Group partners with Israel-based broadcaster i24 News

in November 2021, both countries signed a MoU in educational affairs covering general, higher, technical and vocational education.

Read: UAE, Israel sign MoU to cooperate in education sector

The nations also signed an MoU to facilitate the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates issued by the health authorities of each other’s countries.

Read more: UAE, Israel sign MoU on mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates

In February this year, DMCC announced the opening of the Israel Diamond Exchange representative office.

Read: Israel Diamond Exchange office to open in Dubai

Early this year, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) also signed a MoU with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Israel to cooperate in the field of agriculture.

Read: UAE, Israel sign MoU to cooperate in agriculture

The UAE and Israel agreed on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two nations in April.

Read: The UAE reaches trade agreement with Israel

In June, Emirates took off to Tel Aviv, marking the airline’s first passenger flight to Israel.

Read more: Dubai’s Emirates takes off to Tel Aviv, marks airline’s first passenger flight to Israel

In June, global fintech-as-a-service company Rapyd also announced the opening of its new office at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), becoming the first Israeli company to be regulated in the UAE.

Read: Fintech Rapyd becomes first DIFC-registered Israeli company

An Abu Dhabi delegation comprising representatives from Abu Dhabi Global Market, Mubadala, Mubadala Energy, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, AIQ, Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi Chamber, Hub71 and First Abu Dhabi Bank, visited Tel Aviv last month.

Read: Abu Dhabi delegation to Tel Aviv explores business opportunities, strategic partnerships

Also read: UAE seeks $1 trillion in business with Israel over next decade

Expert opinions

“Over the last two years, the UAE has become one of the fastest-growing trade partners for Israel. One highlight is the Free Trade Agreement that was signed and paves the way to creating opportunities in key industries, including energy, financial services, distribution, construction, hospitality, and others. We predict that in year three of this relationship, we will see trade more than double from $1.2bn to $3bn, excluding services. We are also very excited about the domino effect this has had on other Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan, who are now benefitting from increased trade with Israel. We are blessed to be living in a new era in our region which creates stability and opportunity.”

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, deputy mayor of Jerusalem and co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council

“As citizens of this region, we must celebrate the milestones between our nation. Through our support of them, coupled with the guiding light that our leaders and their diplomatic emissaries provide, we are able to watch as this relationship reaches its true potential. If this past year is any indication, the relationship between Bahrain and Israel is strong and will continue to flourish. There is a Chinese Proverb that says, ‘one generation plants the trees; another gets the shade,’ our generation signed the Accords to create a better future for our children and generations to come.”

From Ambassador Houda Nonoo (ret.), former ambassador of Bahrain to the US

“The Abraham Accords unleashed great opportunity and potential for our region. As we look back over the last two years, innovation and technology have played a central role in the business exchange and Start-Up Nation Central is proud to play a part in bridging Israel’s tech ecosystem with our counterparts in the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco along with our global partners. As we look toward the third year of this relationship, we believe that trade and investment between Israel and the Abraham Accord countries will double in 2023 and that innovation and technology will continue to play a significant part in this as more Israeli companies will open offices in the Accords countries and will hire and train local tech talent, addressing the human capital challenge while also contributing to the development of the innovation ecosystem in these countries.”

Avi Hasson, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central


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