Israeli official
Yeal Ravia Zadok, Israel’s deputy director general for economic affairs Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As Israel’s deputy director general for economic affairs, Yeal Ravia Zadok is at the helm of a delegation of over 200 companies participating in the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai this week. But talk to her and she will tell you it’s the exploration of the UAE’s culture and people’s relationships that is more important than business for the 400-plus Israelis visiting the country.

Zadok, like most of them, is a first-timer in the city and she is filled with excitement. “It’s not about business, first we need to invest in building relationships, learning about your people and culture. This is my first visit to the Emirates and I find it very exciting to be in a country that is very similar to Israel,” she said.

And what are these similarities? “Both the countries are small, very technologically advanced and innovative and both struggle with desert challenges in arid zones. Our climate challenges have pushed us to innovate and create new opportunities,” she said.

According to Zodak, “The fact that the Israeli delegation comprises more than 400 people is an expression of interest in the UAE, will to build bridges in the region and forge new friendships and partnerships.”

Describing her country’s presence at GITEX as a “great first opportunity”, she said it laid the foundation for a long-lasting collaboration not just between the UAE and Israel, but also to reach third markets. “Together we can do so much, the sky is the limit,” she said.

She said among the areas of collaboration that are being explored are fintech, agrotech, food security, water management and resources, cyber security and Artificial Intelligence, smart mobility, medical devices and digital health.

The UAE-Israel Future Digital Economy Summit , which was inaugurated at GITEX, served as a forum between the two countries to mould the discourse between Israeli and Emirati businesses to increase cooperation, particularly in the fields of innovation and technology.

But what is that one thing that can be described as the UAE’s biggest takeaway? “The UAE’s vision is inspiring for us,” she said, adding that there is so much to learn from meeting officials and other people looking to the future while being rooted in history.

“We want to be your partners and friends. We can bring business, peace, prosperity and stability in the region. Together, we have a role to play,” she said.