Israeli defense stalls empty on opening day of Dubai Air Show

A man walks past the empty stand of Israel Aerospace Industries with an empty Rafael stand seen at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
A man walks past the empty stand of Israel Aerospace Industries with an empty Rafael stand seen at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The biennial Dubai Air Show in the United Arab Emirates opens today under the shadow of Israel’s war with Hamas.

That conflict, as well as Russia’s war on Ukraine, likely will influence the five-day show at Al Maktoum Airport at Dubai World Central.

While commercial aviation takes much of the attention, arms manufacturers also have exhibitions at the show. Two major Israeli firms — Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Israel Aerospace Industries — had been slated to participate.

But the IAI stand, bearing the slogan “Where Courage Meets Technology,” is roped off and empty this morning as people poured into the show. A stand for Rafael handed out coffee, though there were no salespeople there. A request for comment left with an attendant there was not immediately returned.

Rafael also sponsored a meeting of air force commanders Sunday at a luxury Dubai hotel, highlighting the balancing act being struck by the UAE amid anger in the Arab world over the Israel-Hamas war.

The UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020.

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