Joining industry forces: UAE and Israel

Joining industry forces: UAE and Israel

The basis for our participation in the Gitex innovation conference was laid in September this year, when a delegation led by Dov Kotler and Reuven Krupik, President and Chairman of Hapoalim Bank, traveled to the United Arab Emirates. They met with senior representatives from local government and the economy, signed co-operation agreements with the two largest banks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and memoranda of understanding on the country’s areas of trade and laid the foundations for co-operation in the future. That was also when it was decided to set up a delegation to the conference, in collaboration with the Israeli Export Institute in the Ministry of Economy. After the professional committee selected the 200 entrepreneurs who took part in the delegation, we left.

“What sets the current conference apart is that this is the only one in the world that has been held in person this year and not through Zoom, and there was a lot of interest. The second day was chosen to be ‘Israel Innovation Day’, and it was an exciting event that we were thrilled. Representatives of the bank, including Kotler and Krupik, took the lead with representatives from the Ministry of Economy and the Israeli Export Institute on the one hand and the Emirates on the other, and talked about business and personal dynamics. going forward and about how they plan to work together in the future. All of this happened with the understanding that contracts are not being done right off the bat. Both sides are still cautious, and it is impossible to overcome a decades-old separation with a single handshake.
“It is important for Israeli entrepreneurs to understand that the Emiratis are not looking for a start-up business to pour money in. They know that a Jewish mind can help them develop, and they want dialogue, innovative ideas, and workable collaborations. Subsidiaries with which they and an Israeli entrepreneur invest together, for example, and then market the product or service in their area using their affiliates and capabilities. Thus, success in the UAE will open channels to the Arab world for many Israeli organizations, as well as large markets in which we have few steps, such as the Far East and Australia.
“For us, this conference is a rare opportunity to use the bank’s great advantage as a recognized leading financial institution to provide a platform for a network of potential entrepreneur-customer relationships, creating an infrastructure for communication between them.

It is important that each side finds out what areas of content are of interest to the other side, and where they need help. For example, the Emirates does not need us in the field of construction, but we can provide them with a technical solution aimed at reducing work accidents at construction sites. Technology is of great interest to them, and there is a great demand for knowledge and experience in areas such as smart cities, big data, fintech, medtech, agtech, autonomous vehicles, and communications solutions – areas in which Israel has regarded as a major country. Our job is to identify and bring together Emirati customers with Israeli companies and entrepreneurs who specialize in these areas.

“I do not expect even ten Israeli companies to sign agreements with Emirati entities in the next two months. Expectations always run a little ahead of reality. The bank will consider it successful, in a few months, Israeli companies and entrepreneurs will continue and deepen their interactive communication with their Emirati peers, considering the trust original and gaining confidence. Overall, I think we are doing something very important here, with a real reason. We are laying the foundations for economic peace – because we believe that economic equity can bring peace to this region. “