Largest Banks in Israel, UAE Ink Cooperation Deal

September 15, 2020

by: Kate Norman

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Bank Hapoalim in Zion Square, Jerusalem

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 | The day before Israel officially signs historic peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in Washington DC, the largest banks in Israel and the UAE announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding to begin cooperation.

The partnership between Israel’s Bank Hapoalim and the National Bank of Dubai is the first such agreement since the US-brokered peace between the Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi was announced on August 13. Earlier this month, the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding for banking and finance, and this is the first direct bank-to-bank cooperation resulting from that agreement.

A statement from the National Bank of Dubai announcing the memorandum noted it is “part of a broader agreement between the UAE and Israel to further peace, dialogue and stability and establish cooperation to promote sustainable development.”

Bank Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler visited the UAE last week with an Israeli delegation and signed the agreement with the Emirati bank. According to Kotler, Israeli clients will now be able to make direct transactions in the UAE and elsewhere.

“It is a great honor to be the first bank to sign such an agreement that will contribute to the establishment of the relationship between the two countries,” Kotler said in a statement published by National Bank of Dubai.

Just a day before the banking agreement, Emirate WAM news reported that Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and Emirati Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence—both top institutions for science and technology—also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate and “advance the development and use of artificial intelligence as a tool for progress.”

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to sign peace agreements with the foreign ministers from the UAE and Bahrain at the White House, Israeli and Emirati citizens and businesses are excitedly preparing for tourism and more personal interaction.

Videos and images of Israelis and Emiratis waving each other’s national flags and inviting each other to visit their respective countries are flooding social media. Direct flights between the nations are being established, previously blocked phone lines between the nations are now open—and the UAE even instructed hotels to add kosher selections to their menus.

It is a new Middle East with historic new cooperations, and expectations are high for the benefits to both the Jewish state and the Arab Gulf states who join hands in peace.

Posted on September 15, 2020

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 15, 2020)

Photo Credit: Utilisateur:Djampa - User:Djampa/

Photo License: Wikimedia