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Israel can learn from UAE's smart government model: Minister

Rasha Abu Baker /Abu Dhabi
rasha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on October 5, 2021
KT Photo: Ryan

Ayelet Shaked also hailed the Abraham Accords and believes it will "go from strength to strength every year"

Israeli Minister of Interior Ayelet Shaked has expressed her keenness to explore various avenues of cooperation with the UAE, particularly in areas such as smart governance and digitisation.

In an interview with Khaleej Times during her visit to the country, Shaked said, “Israel is known as the start-up nation, progressive in high tech and technology — but the government less so; we can learn from the UAE government’s experience with digitisation.”

One such area of interest, she said, is Abu Dhabi’s success at crime prevention and maintaining safety. “Abu Dhabi Police is one of the best in the world and Abu Dhabi is one of the safest cities in the world — a topic we can definitely learn about from you,” she said, referring to how the emirate utilises technology to ensure a smart and secure city.

The Israeli Minister, who arrived in the UAE Capital on Sunday, also visited the headquarters of the Zayed Smart City Project “in order to see innovation in practice”.

A model for peace

During the interview, Shaked expressed her strong convictions on the long-term success of the Abraham Accords, saying: “I truly believe in this peace agreement, because they are based on a healthy relationship between the two peoples.

“Our two countries are like two islands of stability in the middle of the chaos in the Middle East, so we have a lot in common,” she explained. “Both countries are stable entities and I think this peace agreement between the two countries can be a model for other agreements in the future.”

Speaking about the most notable achievement she believes took place since the signing of the Accords last year, the Minister said: “I think the biggest achievement is the relationship between people, and the fact that the UAE presents a version of tolerant Islam. This is something that is very important for us… When I visit here, I can see we have a true peace; it’s not fake… so, I think it will last.”

She said Israeli ministers look forward to realising the tremendous potential of the Accords, and that many are planning to visit the UAE. “I can tell you the government is planning to visit and strengthen relations with their UAE counterparts. We see a great potential: both economic and political. I believe that this agreement will go from strength to strength every year.”

Opportunity to invest

This week, Israel’s Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg paid a visit to the Israeli pavilion at Expo. The Tourism Minister Yoel Razbozov is expected to do the same later this week.

Shaked went on to invite Emiratis to visit Israel’s various attractions, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Sea of Galilee, and Nazareth.

“I’ll be happy to see tourists from the UAE come and visit Israel… In two or three weeks, we will open the gates for tourists. There is hope now, as Covid cases are declining.”

She added that, even during Covid, many Israelis visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi and predicted that the UAE would soon become a top destination for Israeli tourists. “Lots of Israelis are now coming to visit the UAE, and I hope it will be reciprocated,” she said.

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The Minister is expected to visit both the Israeli and UAE pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai this week, where she said many businesspeople from her country will be looking for investment opportunities.

“I am proud that the UAE got to host the Expo; it’s a great thing. I'm also proud to be able to promote Israel to the rest of the world — and hope our exhibit will attract many people.”

Rasha Abu Baker

Rasha Abu Baker is an Emirati journalist and editor. She is Associate Editor and Bureau Chief at Khaleej Times, Abu Dhabi and has a special enthusiasm for human-interest stories, feature-writing and profile interviews.





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