Israel’s i24News channel to open Dubai office

Tel Aviv-based station will expand Middle East coverage from the UAE’s media hub

Journalists work in a studio of television channel i24news in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 28, 2013 (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
Journalists work in a studio of television channel i24news in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 28, 2013 (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

The Israel-based i24News television network said Monday it would open an office in Dubai, the first to do so since the normalization of ties between the Jewish state and the UAE.

“In the last year, we have witnessed regional diplomatic changes that enable business ties and opportunities for partnerships,” said Frank Melloul, chief executive of i24News.

“The establishment of our office in Dubai Media City gives us a strategic platform to expand our coverage of the Middle East right from the heart of the region’s media industry hub,” he added.

The news channel also announced a series of agreements with the United Arab Emirates, including content exchanges with the publisher of English-language daily Gulf News, and advertisements from UAE’s tourism ministry.

Mona Al Marri, director-general of the Government of Dubai Media Office, welcomed “the establishment of cooperation between the media sectors of UAE and Israel,” and Majed Al Suwaidi, the director of Dubai Media City, said that adding i24News to the center “adds to the rich global diversity of media.”

Two major Emirati telecom operators, Etisalat and DU, would carry content from i24News, which broadcasts in Arabic, English and French.

A general view of the Marina district towers is seen from the observation deck of “The View at The Palm Jumeirah” in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

In December, the channel based in Israel’s coastal city of Tel Aviv signed a deal with Abu Dhabi Media for shared reporting and archival content.

The state-owned Dubai Media Incorporated said it signed a memorandum of understanding with i24News to cooperate on content creation, media technology, and employee exchange programs.

The channel and Dubai Media Incorporated also said they connect their media with a “Fibre of Peace” optical line connecting the Gulf to Israel to share information.

The UAE was only the third Arab country to normalize and maintain ties with Israel, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco have since followed suit.

The agreements broke with the longstanding Arab notion that there should be no normalization with Israel until it reaches a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians. Palestinian leaders condemned the agreements as “a stab in the back” and “treason.”

Israel has already signed a raft of deals with both UAE and Bahrain, ranging from tourism to aviation and financial services. This month, a first Emirati student began studies at an Israeli university.

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