The head of Israel’s largest bank on Tuesday led a delegation of businesspeople on the first Israeli economy-focused visit to the United Arab Emirates since an agreement to normalise ties.
The US-brokered deal between the UAE and the Jewish state was announced on August 13, with a group of Israeli officials landing in Abu Dhabi two weeks later to discuss cooperation in a variety of fields.
Tuesday’s visit, led by Bank Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler, included a small group of businesspeople from fields including high-tech, financial technology and industry.
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Kotler described the visit as “the first, groundbreaking step, with great expectations ahead”.
“We believe that direct and discreet communication with heads of the banking systems and economic figures can enable direct business,” he said before boarding the private jet carrying the delegation to Dubai.
He added that in light of the global economic downturn due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the delegation was looking for “new growth engines”.
The two-day trip is set to include meetings with bankers and businesspeople first in Dubai, then in Abu Dhabi, a Hapoalim spokeswoman said.
A separate Israeli business delegation led by the heads of Bank Leumi, Israel’s other major commercial bank, is due to travel to the UAE on September 14.
A UAE delegation has been invited to visit the Jewish state by the Israeli government, but no date has been set, an official in Jerusalem told AFP.
The normalisation of ties with the UAE is Israel’s first with a Gulf nation and only its third with an Arab state.