Dubai conglomerate Al Habtoor is latest UAE company to announce Israel plans

Company deals in real estate, education, hospitality, automotive industries among others; says it will open Israel office, work with Israir on direct flights

View of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 29, 2018. (Aijaz Rahi/AP)
View of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 29, 2018. (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

Dubai-based Al Habtoor group announced Saturday it plans to open a representative office in Israel and is working on direct flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Reuters reported.

The conglomerate deals in real estate, education, hospitality, automotive industries, publishing and other areas.

It said it is working with Israeli airline Israir on launching direct routes between the countries.

“We are preparing to reveal a few collaborations in the coming days,” company chief Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor said.

His announcement was the latest in reported business cooperation between the countries following the landmark normalization agreements between the Israel, the UAE and Bahrain last week.

On Thursday the Israeli and Dubai diamond exchanges announced they had struck a deal to boost trade.

The UAE announced the end of its boycott of Israel last month, allowing commerce to flow between the oil-rich Emirates and Israel. Already, Emirati and Israeli banks and research firms have rushed to sign agreements.

Also on Thursday, Emirates Flight Catering, which supplies meals to Emirates Airlines and over 100 others, said it would establish a facility dedicated to making certified kosher food at its UAE headquarters, with production due to start in January.

With Israeli businessmen and tourists expected to start popping up soon in the federation of seven sheikhdoms, “demand for kosher food in the UAE and the region will grow quickly,” said Saeed Mohammed, CEO of Emirates Flight Catering. The partnership with CCL Holdings, a kosher certification company, will likely extend to opening kosher restaurants and offering certified kosher food at hotels and events across other Gulf Arab countries, he added, without specifying which ones.

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