Israel Gulf Report
Peres Center for Peace and Innovation sees hope in UAE after peace agreement
Updated: Jan 12, 2021
The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation recently reflected on a trip to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. The important trip by one of Israel's leading centers devoted to peace and innovation is a window into the importance of the new Israel-Gulf relations that are blooming with visionaries on both sides expecting to see new partnerships.
This includes working with the UAE, which is a financial hub, as it plugs into the start-up and innovation hub of Tel Aviv. It will also include such sectors as agricultural technology, medical technology, artificial intelligence and financial technology.
In an interview at The Jerusalem Post Efrat Duvdevani , Director General of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, discussed the recent trip. In a previous post we highlighted some aspects of this trip based on a December 6 press release from the Center.
The delegation included senior Israeli innovation and economic leaders, such as Jonathan Kolber and Zvi Yemini, CEOs from partner companies of the Innovation Center at the Peres Center (Orbotech, Adama, Finastra, Check Point and DSV). Members of the delegation also include Director General of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, Efrat Duvdevani, founder and director of the Peres Friends Circle, Yona Bartal and members of the Board of Directors at the Peres Center, Prof. Tsvia Walden, Manuela Dviri and Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel.
Key points from Duvdevani's interview.
The Center’s partners who participated in the delegation included the following:
DSV: Sigal Mannheim-Katzovich, Managing Director at DSV - Global Transport and Logistics; Limor Gil Shani - Senior Director, Sales & Marketing, Israel
Finastra: Sagive Greenspan - General Manager Payments, General Manager Finastra Israel; Dror Kaplan - Head of Business Operations & Business Development
Check Point: Dorit Dor - VP Products at Check Point
Adama: Josef Goldshmidt - VP India, Africa & Middle East
Additional partners of the center who took part in the delegation or support the Center's initiatives in the Gulf include Intel, Orbotech, IAI Keter, Intuit, SAP, Merck, the Innovation authority, the Ministry of Economy.
The Emirates is a gateway to more than two billion people as it lies at the edge of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The trip by the Peres Center coincided with large numbers of Israelis attended GITEX. This included more than 130 companies and organizations. The Israel Foreign Minister and Export Institute supported this GITEX participation.
The Peres Center now has an official representative in Dubai named Sarah Besnainou.
Duvdevani discussed the delegation's impressions of the trip.
"The Emiratis conveyed a sincere, open and warm desire to cooperate with Israelis. We were very impressed by the way they are managing their country, with true long term strategy while putting an emphasis of long term initiatives such as having a Minister of Artificial Intelligence, Minister of Future, Minister of Happiness and other issues. Out of 33 Ministers, nine are women.
"While Israelis rushed to the Emirates with hopes to sign business deals quickly, the Emiratis culturally approach the whole thing in a different way - They expect us to want to get to know them, make friendships, get to know their families, and then maybe later on also sign agreements. The game here is entirely long-term."
"The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Dubai is in its infancy but it is beginning to gain momentum. The Emirates have set themselves the goal of becoming the leading financial hub in the region and they understand that for this they need connections to advanced technology. This is exactly where their desire to connect with Israel resides. The deep tech that exists in Israel is the key to future collaborations and they have a real desire to learn from Israel's ability in the field of technology and in general how to establish an ecosystem of innovation."
"The Emirates is a gateway to more than two billion people as it lies at the edge of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In light of the Emirates’ ability to reach and distribute to these areas, many of which are in the Arab world, it is a tremendous opportunity for Israel. In addition, here is significant potential to reduce the costs of goods imported into Israel through cooperation with the free trade zones which operate in the Emirates with zero tax on goods."
"It was especially exciting to be part of the Center's delegation - the late Shimon Peres was the father of the ‘New Middle East' vision, which suddenly now appears to be coming true. The message we came with, of striving to build long-term bridges, integrated with peace and innovation created a lot of interest on the other side and a willingness to continue the relationship."
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