AAPI Monthly Newsletters
AAPI Newsletter: August 2022
August 31, 2022
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August 13, 2022 marked the second anniversary of the historic announcement of the Abraham Accords.
In the two years since then, tremendous progress has been made. Israel has opened diplomatic representative offices in each of the Abraham Accords countries. Direct air routes and flights operate between Israel and Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Manama, Casablanca, and Marrakesh. Ministers and leading figures from all the Accords countries have conducted reciprocal official visits, and have signed cooperation agreements in a wide range of areas. In addition, businesspeople have identified opportunities and formulated joint ventures, and dozens of people-to-people initiatives have been launched. Cooperative economic and commercial agreements have generated a dramatic increase in trade figures with the Abraham Accords countries, including direct investments between countries. Moreover, the security ties between Israel and the Abraham Accords countries have been tightened and expanded.
In a recent publication, Meir Ben-Shabbat, former Israeli national security adviser and head of the National Security Council between 2017 and 2021, and AAPI’s Deputy Director for Israel, David Aaronson, explain why, although progress has been systematic and rapid, and the overall picture is optimistic and promising, there remains additional attainable progress in numerous civilian spheres. These spheres include: expansion of the overland trade route between Israel and the Gulf, promotion of regional projects in fields such as energy, food, water, digital health and medicine, education and culture, and the strengthening of interpersonal relations. Be sure to read the full article in order to learn more about realistic ways relations between Accords countries can deepen in the coming years.
While August is traditionally a slow month on the diplomatic front, August 2022 saw a number of significant diplomatic developments related to the Abraham Accords. As part of the larger process of regional integration set in motion by the Accords, Israel and Turkey announced the return to full normalization of relations, including reinstating ambassadors and consuls-general. Significant progress was made towards the establishment of permanent diplomatic presences in several Accords countries as Israel's ambassador to Morocco signed a contract for the construction of a permanent Israeli embassy in the Kingdom, and the Embassy of Israel in Abu Dhabi moved to its permanent residence. Additionally, the first US ambassador to Sudan in almost 25 years landed in Khartoum.
Trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached $192.2 Million in July 2022, constituting a 110% increase in trade from July 2021. For the first seven months of 2022, bilateral trade was just over $1.4 Billion, constituting a 116% increase in trade from the first seven months of 2021.
Trade between Israel and Bahrain increased to $1.2 Million in July 2022, up from $0.3 Million in July 2021. For the first seven months of 2022, bilateral trade reached $6.2 Million, constituting nearly a 2,000% increase from the first seven months of 2021.
Trade between Israel and Morocco reached $4.7 Million in July 2022, constituting a 213% increase in trade from July 2021. For the first seven months of 2022, bilateral trade increased to $24.3 Million, constituting a 16% increase in trade from the first seven months of 2021.
Trade between Israel and Egypt increased to $19.5 Million in July 2022, constituting a 3% increase in trade from July 2021. For the first seven months of 2022, bilateral trade reached $174.6 Million, constituting a 42% increase in trade from the first seven months of 2021.
Trade between Israel and Jordan was $39.1 Million in July 2022, constituting a $3.1 Million decrease in trade from July 2021. For the first seven months of 2022, bilateral trade reached $308.5 Million, constituting a 38% increase in trade from the first seven months of 2021.
(Source: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics)
Please see below for a list of developments that occurred in August of 2022:
Summer 2022-A delegation of four Moroccan students arrived at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev for a summer semester, for a first-of-its-kind cooperation between an Israeli and a Moroccan university. The four spent the semester studying in the university’s data science and health system programs, with students from all around the world.
July 31-August 11, 2022-The Auburn University Men’s Basketball team visited Israel, becoming the first major American college basketball program to do so. During the visit, Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl expressed the desire to create an “Abraham Accords Cup”.
August 1-5, 2022-Israel’s Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai visited Morocco, becoming the first Israeli police chief to visit the country on an official visit. He was accompanied by the heads of the Israel Police's intelligence and foreign relations divisions.. While there, he met with senior officials from the Moroccan police, the Moroccan National Security Ministry and visited several police and security facilities. During his visit, it was announced that Israeli and Moroccan law enforcement authorities would expand their cooperation, including with regards to the capture of fleeing criminals.
August 2, 2022- Israel's ambassador to Morocco, David Govrin, signed a contract for the construction of a permanent Israeli embassy in Morocco.
August 2, 2022-The Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI), an umbrella organization of high-tech and life sciences firms, and Manama-based Bahrain FinTech Bay, announced a new cooperation agreement to develop joint initiatives and support the fintech industry in both countries, as well as regionally. IATI and Bahrain FinTech Bay will work together to facilitate introductions and communications between startups, companies, and venture capital firms seeking investments and expansion in both countries.
August 4, 2022-A commercial flight bound for Israel entered Saudi airspace for the first time since Saudi Arabia opened its skies to all flights, including Israeli ones, last month. The flight, operated by Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific airline, took off from Hong Kong and landed in Tel Aviv.
August 5, 2022-A delegation of Israeli universities visited Bahrain, where they met with a number of high-level officials from Bahrain's higher education system to discuss opportunities for research collaborations and exchange programs
August 8, 2022- In a joint event hosted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Israel, Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, and Start-Up Nation Central, fifteen Israeli startups were introduced to significant business opportunities in Bahrain.
August 12, 2022- A Jewish American businessman, who had driven from his home in Dubai in what was branded the first ever land journey from the UAE through Saudi Arabia and Jordan to Israel, arrived in Jerusalem after a total of 38 hours on the road, covering more than 3,580 kilometers (nearly 2,225 miles.) The journey aimed to form new connections between agtech and foodtech centers in all of the countries.
August 15, 2022-Israeli energy companies Enlight Energy and NewMed Energy announced a plan this week to jointly develop, fund, build, and manage renewable energy projects across the Middle East and North Africa, including in Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.
Mid-August, 2022- Sharaka led a delegation to Bahrain where it met with partners and government officials to explore opportunities for deepening people-to-people connections between Israel and Bahrain. Read more here.
August 17, 2022- As part of the larger process of regional integration set in motion by the Abraham Accords, Israel and Turkey announced the return to full normalization of relations, including reinstating ambassadors and consuls-general.
August 21, 2022- The Israel Airport Authority announced it will install new self-service stations at Ben-Gurion Airport, in a move that will ease the travel experience of visitors to Israel, including from Abraham Accords countries.
August 23, 2022- An Israeli carrier flew for the first time over Saudi Arabia on its way to a non-Gulf destination.
August 23, 2022- The Embassy of Israel in Abu Dhabi moved to its permanent residence.
August 23, 2022-Morocco and Israel signed a bilateral cooperation agreement in volleyball.
August 24, 2022-John Godfrey, the first US ambassador to Sudan in almost 25 years, landed in Khartoum.
August 25-26, 2022- The Moroccan national team competed in Israel in a tournament commemorating the 50th anniversary of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
August 26, 2022- Results from a new Washington Institute poll indicated that while Saudi popular attitudes toward normalization with Israel remain mixed, forty-two percent of Saudis agree that “people who want to have business or sports contacts with Israelis should be allowed to do so”, with 46% of Saudi adults under 30 accept contact with Israel.
August 29, 2022- Bahraini Ambassador to Israel, Khalid Yousif Al-Jalahma, discussed ways to bolster space cooperation with Israel during a meeting with the CEO of Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency (NSSA) Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Asiri.
August 31, 2022- Israel and the United Arab Emirates have begun a joint tourism campaign to market tourism packages combining the two countries.