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The normalisation of ties between the UAE and Israel will lead to mutually advantageous benefits for the two countries in many areas, says Sherif Beshara, CEO of Mohamed & Obaid Al Mulla Group, the holding company of American Hospital Dubai.

Speaking of the opportunities of integration and co-operation in the medical field that have now opened up between the two countries, Beshara highlights areas that can be explored including technological development, medical research, skilled human resources, the use of AI in medicine and healthcare, and medical tourism. “Good health and a high quality of life are among the top priorities of the UAE as the human being is the basis for progress, development and advancement of societies,” says Beshara. This core value of the UAE, in conjunction with Israel’s reputed medical advancements, will provide a strong foundation for the two countries to establish more robust medical and healthcare sectors in their countries.

Both the UAE and Israel, Beshara says, are distinguished by their high global statuses in achievement indexes across domains and have a common cultural background, a global appeal for students and doctors, and both countries lay a strong emphasis on the importance of conducting collaborative scientific research to raise the level of healthcare.

Israel, for example, ranks 15th in the world in terms of published works in research and applied sciences, as it spends 4.7 per cent of its national income on scientific research, thus contributing to the service of mankind.

“Israeli universities enjoy very high rankings in international tables of assessment and this is due to the remarkable Israeli medical progress in higher education,” says Beshara.

“Israel is considered one of the most advanced countries in the medical field and has given the world many medical inventions and achievements, in addition to its advancement in information technology that has led to the use and analysis of medical information, and the creation of advanced solutions in medical care.”

The two countries can benefit from cooperation and knowledge sharing, with the UAE harnessing the advantages of academic and scientific programmes in Israel, in addition to exchanging students and doctors, and conducting joint scientific research.

“The UAE can address Israel’s shortage of medical personnel with the help of [the UAE’s] experienced doctors.”

The UAE can address Israel’s shortage of medical personnel with the help of [the UAE’s] experienced doctors.

- Sherif Beshara, CEO of Mohamed & Obaid Al Mulla Group

Conversely, the UAE can benefit from one of the most important areas in the medical field that distinguishes Israel: complex surgeries, organ transplantation, and export of advanced medical equipment for diagnosis and treatment. The pursuit of technology and applications in artificial intelligence in healthcare in particular, he says, will lead to building a wider, comprehensive, more advanced database to serve humanity.

Medical tourism to get a boost

With medical tourism being a driver for growth, the two countries can lead the resurgence of this sector, says Beshara.

“Hospitality is booming. The level and quality of the services being provided in the UAE are a strong attraction for many in Israel and the UAE offers an integrated package of features that support its orientation towards providing world-class tourism.”

The UAE’s advanced infrastructure, strategic location, and excellent logistical connectivity to both the East and the West make it a coveted hub for medical tourism for people across the world, particularly for Africa, says Beshara.

These advantages, he believes, will play a fundamental role in Israel’s ability to benefit from its connectivity to the UAE, helping medical tourism to advance rapidly.

UAE youth: an invaluable asset

The medical education system in Israel follows mainly the American model and many Israeli doctors have been educated or trained in the US. The academic system in the UAE too is widely based on the American curriculum, thus creating a synergy between the two countries in this  field.

“There is a good opportunity now for medical schools in both countries to co-operate and harmonise curricula and other activities.

“In the long term, this could allow Israel to have access to an additional pool of highly educated doctors, nurses and medical staff to cover the continuing shortage of healthcare staff.”

This spirit of cooperation, he says, will be underlined by the unique qualities of UAE’s youth who, having grown up in the country’s exemplary environment of multicultural diversity and tolerance, bring a high degree of flexibility, motivation and openness to their ethos and outlook.