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‘Around 130,000 Israeli tourists have visited UAE after historic peace deal’

February 01, 2021
Around 130,000 Israeli tourists have so far visited the United Arab Emirates since the air traffic was launched in the wake of the Abraham Accords, which was signed in September 2020, according to the top diplomat at the newly opened Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi. — WAM photo
Around 130,000 Israeli tourists have so far visited the United Arab Emirates since the air traffic was launched in the wake of the Abraham Accords, which was signed in September 2020, according to the top diplomat at the newly opened Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi. — WAM photo

Saudi Gazette report

ABU DHABI — Around 130,000 Israeli tourists have so far visited the United Arab Emirates since the air traffic was launched in the wake of the Abraham Accords, which was signed in September 2020, according to the top diplomat at the newly opened Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

"We’re very curious people. We like to travel. Israelis are traveling all over the world," Eitan Naeh, head of the Israeli mission, said.

Naeh is expected to officially submit his diplomatic credentials to the UAE government soon.

Moreover, nearly 50,000 Israelis a month may visit the UAE during the winter season, the Israeli diplomat revealed, citing tourism industry sources.

"We are talking about a few hundred thousands of visitors a year," the diplomat, who arrived in Abu Dhabi early last week, added.

Speaking to the UAE’s official news agency, Naeh also said that Israel is looking into the potential of road traffic with the UAE to further develop the bilateral trade corridor after successfully establishing air and sea links.

"Now we are looking into the potential of trailers and lorries carrying goods from the UAE reaching Israel in three days and vice versa in the near future," the diplomat said.

"I truly believe that the UAE on the eastern part of Arabia and Israel on the western part of Asia — on the Mediterranean — can create a trade corridor through land and sea (to the rest of the world)," he added. "This ‘corridor of peace’ will create great possibilities for trade and tourism."

The envoy also pointed out that both countries have an advanced infrastructure. "We can learn from each other."

Israel has identified around 29 potential areas for cooperation with the UAE and bilateral agreements in eight areas have already been signed, he said.

On the investment front, the Israeli head of mission already had talks with some investment companies from Israel that want to come and invest in the UAE.

"I think there is a lot of room for mutual investments. More Israeli companies will open their front offices here in the UAE or set up factories," he said.

In the science and technology sector, setting up joint research and development centers where each country can bring its expertise and advantage, is a potential priority.

"No one country knows everything. Israel is in the semi-arid climate, so we do have a very advanced desert research centers down in the south," he noted. "There are things that we already know and there are things that we can study, then research and develop together."

"Israelis are firm believers and that’s why we believe in what we call circles of innovation. We can set up joint circles of innovation."

Dialogue to overcome the baggage of history He believes dialogue between Israel and the UAE will encourage many others to follow suit to settle their differences.

"We are very ancient people. We carry with us a long history. We carry that bag on our back, but we’re certainly the kind of people like yourselves (Emiratis) who look very much into the future," he said.


February 01, 2021
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