Israel-UAE normalization dawns new era in Mideast business cooperation

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The business opportunities bring with them tremendous hope, not only for what businesses can achieve, but for a more peaceful and prosperous region.

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER Meir Ben-Shabbat (fourth right) makes his way to board a plane to leave Abu Dhabi last week. (photo credit: REUTERS)

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER Meir Ben-Shabbat (fourth right) makes his way to board a plane to leave Abu Dhabi last week.

(photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel and the United Arab Emirates are normalizing relations, with doors swinging open in ways scarcely imaginable just a few weeks ago. Israeli business will get official stable channels to operate inside the Emirati kingdom, and by extension, in the Gulf states. It’s a known secret there has been covert security cooperation and business channels bridging the countries, but now, these bridges are visible to the world. There has been ample coverage of the burgeoning air travel between the nations. In this particular relationship, however, the sky isn’t the limit – it’s only the beginning.

Private entities are already announcing new collaborations. The business opportunities bring with them tremendous hope, not only for what businesses can achieve, but for a more peaceful and prosperous region. Many of us still remember pictures of celebrations at kibbutzim 100 years ago because they had acquired a new animal breed. The developments now are even more momentous, and here are some significant examples that we ought to celebrate with due fanfare.

PR firms ReBlonde and White Water pave the way

ReBlonde, a leading global tech PR agency based in Israel, has already forged a partnership with the UAE’s White Water PR, opening each company to an entirely new pool of clients in similar fields, ranging from financial technology and blockchain to artificial intelligence and medical technology. In ReBlonde, UAE firms now have a channel through which to position themselves and gain visibility in the Startup Nation, and vice versa with Israeli companies in the UAE through White Water.  Established 14 years ago, ReBlonde has worked with prominent tech companies such as Rakuten Viber, Microsoft, Spotify, and MERJ, the official stock exchange of the Republic of Seychelles.

A top PR firm based in Dubai, White Water works to promote similar tech clients globally. As soon Israel and the UAE’s warming relations became public, White Water began searching for an appropriate Israeli partner with the right connections to local and international media for a mutually beneficial relationship.

“It’s a nice change of pace that the ground is shifting beneath us, but in a wonderful direction,” said Motti Peer, Founder and CEO of ReBlonde. “Tech moves so fast that we have become experts in navigating uncharted territory. Breaking new ground by bringing Israeli Tech to the UAA, and UAE firms to Israel, is a very exciting first step toward changing everything we know about business in the Middle East.”



Regulatory frameworks

The Israeli law firm Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg, Shenhav & Co. (GKH) and BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP (BSA), based in the UAE, have formed a partnership to provide joint webinars presenting the fundamentals of the legal frameworks in each country. For businesses looking to operate, it will provide foundational knowledge of the legal landscape surrounding commercial, regulatory, and dispute resolution issues. GKH is one of Israel’s largest law firms specializing in fields of securities, mergers and acquisitions, in addition to hi-tech, corporate law and transnational legal disputes.

The sun and the desert

Both countries are located in a desert, and therefore share certain geographical realities. There are many technologies and solutions to be shared in order to cope with the unforgiving climate.

Arieli Capital is reportedly already in talks to promote agriculture projects in the UAE. Like the relationship between the national governments, there were already talks underway before the new peace agreement became public, with several meetings in Europe before now. UAE officials are considering sending teams to Israel to learn about innovative dessert agriculture and agricultural technology for growing crops.

Surely this list will be obsolete before we know it, but the prospect of listing hundreds of cooperations between Israeli and UAE firms is anything but daunting, it’s thrilling. The Middle East is changing before our eyes, the world would do well to bring out the popcorn now.’

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