The Economy Ministry has estimated that the normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Israel in trade and investments, Channel 12 news reported Sunday.
Citing official figures based on various scenarios the ministry has reviewed in recent days, the station reports that exports to the UAE, which are currently at around $300,000 a year, could jump to an annual $300-$500 million.
UAE investments in Israel were predicted to amount to up to $350 million a year.
The areas of industry expected to gain the most were cyber industries, medical equipment, financial technology and communications, the report said.
The report also said the Arab-Israeli sector in particular was expected to benefit from investment by the Gulf state, though it did not provide further details.
In expectation of export deals and investments, the government has begun preparing frameworks to ease the process, the report said, without giving further details. Economy Minister Amir Peretz has ordered that work start to strengthen economic ties between the countries, beginning with the opening of a trade mission in the planned Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday that they are establishing full diplomatic relations in a US-brokered accord, which also required Israel to suspend its contentious plan to annex West Bank land sought by the Palestinians for a future state. Israel had previously planned to unilaterally move ahead with the measures on the basis of the US peace plan.
The agreement makes the UAE the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to have full, active diplomatic ties with Israel. Thursday’s joint statement said deals between Israel and the UAE were expected in the coming weeks in such areas as tourism, direct flights, and embassies.
Netanyahu on Sunday said he expects more Arab countries to normalize their ties with Israel after last week’s agreement with the United Arab Emirates, and that the process will eventually also drive peace with the Palestinians.
Sunday also saw telephone services between the United Arab Emirates and Israel initiated, as the two countries started opening diplomatic ties. Israeli news websites that had previously been blocked by UAE authorities could be accessed without using intermediary means to bypass internet filtering in the Emirates.
Emirati officials said Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan had called his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel issued a statement “congratulating the United Arab Emirates on removing the blocks.”
“Many economic opportunities will open now, and these trust-building steps are an important step toward advancing states’ interests,” Hendel said.
Early Sunday, the Emirates’ state-run WAM news agency announced that a UAE company had signed an agreement with an Israeli company for research and study of the coronavirus pandemic.
Agencies contributed to this report.