First official Israeli trade delegation visits UAE with CEO of Israel’s biggest bank

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The first official Israeli trade delegation arrived in the UAE on Tuesday, including the CEO of the biggest bank in Israel.

Dov Kotler, the head of Bank Hapoalim, landed in Dubai and is set to meet with government officials and the heads of the largest banks in the UAE, according to Reuters.


It is the first ever official Israeli trade delegation in the UAE.

Kotler said the visit is “a unique opportunity to establish economic relations and cooperation between our countries and their financial systems, which will yield economic growth for both parties,” according to Reuters.

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest bank, said last week that it will open discussions with “leading financial institutions in Israel, namely Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi,” following last month’s historic agreement between the UAE and Israel.

“The discussions will look to establish banking relationships that will strengthen financial and economic cooperation between UAE and Israel, focusing on correspondent banking, bilateral trade, and technology and innovation,” First Abu Dhabi Bank said in a statement on Twitter.

The visit follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on September 1 between the two countries on banking and finance.

Next Monday, a second delegation from another leading bank in Israel, Bank Leumi, will travel to the UAE. The group will be led by Chairman Samer Haj Yehia.

Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi are Israel’s number one and two banks, respectively.

Head of Israel's Bank Hapoalim, Dov Kotler, center, in Dubai. (Twitter: Ofir Gendelman)
Head of Israel's Bank Hapoalim, Dov Kotler, center, in Dubai. (Twitter: Ofir Gendelman)

An Israeli minister said Monday that annual trade between Israel and the UAE is expected to reach $4 billion.

“Within three to five years trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will reach $4 billion,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Israel’s Reshet Bet radio station.

The UAE issued a decree abolishing a previous law that mandated an economic boycott of Israel on August 29.

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