Netanyahu: UAE deal will bring massive investment to Negev

Prime minister says diplomatic relations with UAE will give Israel access to $1 trillion in investment.

By Paul Shindman, World Nsrael News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the pending peace deal with the United Arab Emirates would bring massive investment to Israel’s southern desert region.

“We have good news that is very important to the state and to the Negev. The peace agreement with the UAE is a great opportunity for the injection of new investments in the Negev,” Netanyahu told a meeting of the Negev Lobby at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

“In the Negev, you are developing the whole gamut of desert agriculture, water and solar energy. These things are very interesting to our friends in the UAE,” Netanyahu said.

Israel and the UAE are expected to sign an agreement at the White House in the next few weeks that will establish full diplomatic relations. It is the first peace treaty with an Arab country since Jordan and Israel ended their state of war in 1994.

Netanyahu emphasized the economic importance of the development, given the economic crisis the Jewish State is in due to the coronavirus pandemic with unemployment hovering around 20 percent.

“I am aware of their desire to invest here in their sovereign wealth fund, which, by the way, is almost $1 trillion. They are very interested in investing in Israel,” Netanyahu said. “I also intend to bring them to the Negev and I am certain that you will show them the great possibilities that exist here. Therefore, I think that there truly is a unique opportunity here. This is a historic agreement that contains great news for the State of Israel”

The agriculture sector has great potential due to Israeli prowess in agri-tech and due due to the dry climate in both Israel and the UAE, Calcalist reported.

“We have been talking to different actors in the UAE about promoting desert agriculture projects,” said Or Haviv, a partner in the Israeli investment firm Arieli Capital.

“There is no done deal, but we were already discussing it prior to last week’s announcement,” Haviv told Calcalist. “The UAE wants to learn how to do agriculture in the desert and gain produce which is at the level of that grown in Israel. There is a plan to send a delegation from the UAE to Israel so that they can undergo training at Ramat Negev.”

Israeli investor Alan Feld of of Vintage Investment Partners, traveled to the UAE earlier this year and said he believes the Arab business sector  is open to both investing in Israeli tech and purchasing equipment and products.

“I believe that we will very soon see investments in VCs and Israeli companies. They have a VC industry and they also want us to invest in their companies,” Feld said.

“The entire region is a desert and in the middle of it they built an amazing airport and one of the best tourism systems I’ve seen,” said Feld. “They want to diversify their sources of income and not be so dependent on the price of oil. They see themselves as a regional technology center and Israel is a good source of technology for them.”