The Abraham Accords Have Brought the Middle East Closer to Peace

On the third anniversary of the treaty among the U.S., Israel, and the United Arab Emirates—later joined by Bahrain—Ed Husain reflects on its fruits:

I am writing these lines as I shuttle between Jerusalem and Arab capitals. The Accords helped establish direct flights from Israel to Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, some above Saudi airspace. In the airport lounges of Dubai, I watch ordinary Iranians and Israelis, supposedly sworn enemies, talking about their families and businesses. Trade volumes are increasing annually between Arab nations and Israel from $590 million in 2019 to $3.4 billion last year and will burgeon significantly. With 200 weekly flights, . . . more than a million Israelis have visited the United Arab Emirates. Air traffic has increased between Israel and Morocco, Jordan, and Turkey.

Change takes time and leadership. What the Accords have started must continue and, in the long run, will increase the popularity of peace in Arab countries. Persuading 350 million Arabs will be a more complex challenge than 10 million Israelis, but the work has begun and requires American and regional support.

[Furthermore], the Accords suspended Israeli annexations of disputed territories until 2024 and kept alive Palestinian dreams of a future state. That “normalization, not annexation” model is now on the table for Saudi Arabia to secure a longer term of no expansion. Palestinian leaders from the West Bank have been meeting in Riyadh and Amman to open a new stage of respect and dignity for their people. . . . In a future Palestinian state, we should imagine the presence of Jewish citizens. After all, Israel has a 20-percent Arab population.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel-Arab relations, Palestinians

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation