AAPI Monthly Newsletters

AAPI Newsletter: November 2022

December 02, 2022

By Abraham Accords Peace Institute

November 2022 was an unusually busy month for the Abraham Accords. On the diplomatic front, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, and Jordan’s King Abdullah. Additionally, presumptive incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with the leaders of the majority of Accords countries. On the commercial front, Israel and Bahrain successfully completed the first round of talks on a free trade agreement and MOUs were signed in the water, green hydrogen, research and innovation fields, among others. An event celebrating the second anniversary of the Accords was held in the United Kingdom, attended by the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. On the cultural front, Morocco became the first-ever Muslim country to inaugurate a synagogue at one of its universities, and a memorial event for the Kristallnacht pogrom was held for the first time ever in the United Arab Emirates.
The Abraham Accords Peace Institute (AAPI) made significant headway on several initiatives as well. Among other activities, a team from AAPI, together with partners from the Moroccan OCP and the World Food Program, traveled to Sudan and took part in site visits in order to advance AAPI’s joint agricultural venture, aimed at enhancing food security and strengthening the Accords. Former Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, joined AAPI’s Honorary Advisory Council.
This month's newsletter contains another instance of our Abraham Accords: In-Depth section, highlighting the potential for leveraging multilateral commercial ventures to improve food security.


Abraham Accords in Depth:
Multilateral Cooperation to Address Food Insecurity

This month we look at how the Abraham Accords have the potential to transform the Middle East by providing opportunities for sustainable solutions to the urgent challenge of food security.
Even prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, addressing food insecurity was a major priority for numerous MENA countries, which are among the most arid in the world. Approximately 60 percent of the Middle East and North Africa’s population already live in areas under severe water stress, with drought and inefficient use of water leading to the degradation of millions of hectares of arable land. Climate change has further exacerbated this challenge, contributing to historic heat waves and a rise in sea levels that further reduce the availability and productivity of fertile land.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased the threat of acute food shortages. According to the World Economic Forum, “countries in Africa and the Middle East in particular are heavily dependent on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine.” Both Egypt and Sudan import over 75% of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia. Even countries that do not directly import agricultural products from Russia and Ukraine are at risk of higher food prices as a result of the diminished supply and enduring disruptions to supply chains caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Water scarcity, drought, and dependence on international food markets undergoing the double-shock of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine increase the risks of not only malnutrition and starvation, but also poverty, political instability, and conflict. In 2010-2011, a surge in the price of food exacerbated pre-existing grievances, leading to political unrest in countries across the region. A few of the countries that fell victim to the resulting insecurity are still dealing with the demographic displacement and armed conflicts that resulted.
A key imperative for all governments is to ensure that their populations are adequately fed. Additionally, all of the Abraham Accords countries (including Egypt and Jordan) share an interest in domestic and regional stability. The Abraham Accords have created an unprecedented opportunity to address food security challenges at the convergence of its members’ interests. Specifically, the Abraham Accords provide an opportunity to combine the unique capabilities of its members to tackle the pressing food and water security challenges the region faces.
All Accords countries are aware that they must invest attention and resources in order to avert the threat to stability presented by food insecurity. However, it is often difficult, and at times impossible, to address the greatest challenges to the MENA region’s food security through independently pursued ventures. It is therefore unsurprising that Accords countries have begun to cooperate on agriculture and foodtech on a bilateral basis. In May, the Israeli Innovation, Science and Technology Minister and the Moroccan Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation signed an agreement to collaborate on water desalination, desert technologies, and food processing technologies, among other areas. In October, the agriculture ministers of Israel and Bahrain signed a first-of-its-kind agreement to boost bilateral cooperation in agriculture, livestock and food security. Also in October, the Moroccan National Institute of Agronomy and Israel’s Volcani Center of Agricultural Research agreed to enhance cooperation, and exchange experience and know-how in farming and agricultural science.
The private sector has also gotten involved. For example, In June, the Israeli air-to-water company Watergen announced a new three-way partnership with Baynunah, a sister company of the Emirati food security agriculture group Al Dahra, and the Moshe Mirilashvili Institute for Applied Water Studies at Tel Aviv University.
However, as is the case in sectors such as energy, healthcare, tourism, and education, the real potential of the Accords lies in multilateral Abraham Accords ventures that take advantage of the relative strengths of each country. Joint commercial agricultural ventures can be established that involve leading companies and investment agencies from Accords countries working together to implement agricultural projects, beginning in Abraham Accords member nations such as Morocco and Sudan, and then expanding to additional nations.
A realistic model for such a venture could involve collective capital investment involving Accords’ country sovereign wealth funds, Moroccan fertilizer, and Israeli agricultural technology. Such initiatives could also build on the memorandums of understanding that have already been signed to collaborate on R&D and the training of domestic workers.
Such ventures would help Accords countries achieve their shared goal of addressing the food security issue, thereby improving the lives of citizens and preventing political instability. But an additional benefit would be that successful agricultural projects in Accords countries would demonstrate the enormous potential of collective action and thereby strengthen the Abraham Accords themselves. By providing food for domestic consumption as well as jobs, such joint ventures would demonstrate the tangible benefits that normalization with Israel has brought, thereby combatting skepticism and bolstering support for peace. Ventures in Sudan, whose relations with Israel remain relatively undeveloped due to politically instability, can help secure Sudan’s membership in the Accords. Additionally, successful agricultural ventures that provide measurable benefits to Accords members could incentivize other countries facing similar challenges to consider the benefits they could reap by making peace with Israel
The Abraham Accords Peace Institute recently visited Sudan to identify viable opportunities for Accords countries to cooperate on commercial projects that would improve food security in the region and bring prosperity to the people of Sudan. AAPI was joined by representatives from the World Food Program and OCP Africa, with the latter recently beginning operations in Sudan. Such initiatives are only the beginning. If Accords countries work together, they have the potential to meaningfully address perhaps the greatest challenge facing the region today.

  • Trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached $215.2 Million in October 2022, constituting a 105% increase in trade from October 2021. For the first ten months of 2022, bilateral trade was just over $2.045 Billion, constituting a 120% increase in trade from the first ten months of 2021.
  • Trade between Israel and Bahrain equaled $0.4 Million in October 2022, constituting a 20% decrease in trade from September 2021. For the first ten months of 2022, bilateral trade reached $10.4 Million, constituting an 845% increase from the first ten months of 2021.
  • Trade between Israel and Morocco reached $12.3 Million in October 2022, constituting a 925% increase in trade from October 2021. For the first ten months of 2022, bilateral trade increased to $44.2 Million, constituting a 25% increase in trade from the first ten months of 2021.
  • Trade between Israel and Egypt equaled $19.3 Million in October 2022, constituting a 27% decrease in trade from October 2021. For the first ten months of 2022, bilateral trade reached $254.1 Million, constituting a 33% increase in trade from the first ten months of 2021.
  • Trade between Israel and Jordan equaled $44.7 Million in October 2022, constituting a 28.3% decrease in trade from October 2021. For the first ten months of 2022, bilateral trade reached $442.6 Million, constituting a 23% increase in trade from the first ten months of 2021.

 Note: Trade data published by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics is published monthly for the preceding month. SOURCE: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics


Below you can find a timeline of notable Abraham Accords-related events that occurred in the month of November 2022: 


November 1, 2022: Morocco became the first-ever Muslim country to inaugurate a synagogue at one of its universities. The synagogue is located at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Marrakesh alongside a mosque as a symbol of religious tolerance.

November 2, 2022: At an event in London organized by the UK Abraham Accords Group, ELNET UK, and the British Jewish Board of Deputies that celebrated the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords, British PM Rishi Sunak expressed the UK’s strong commitment to strengthening and deepening the Accords. Per Sunak: The Abraham Accords represent one of the “greatest achievements in the long process of securing peace in the Middle East…..Today we send a clear message about our commitment to the Accords and all that they represent.” The event was attended by ministers, senior officials, ambassadors from the Abraham Accords countries, British MPs, and Jewish leaders. 

November 4-6, 2022: A medical conference at a Jewish museum in Essaouira, Morocco brought together local cancer specialists and experts from Israel.Titled “Tomorrow’s Medicine as a Bridge for Peace”, discussions among the 60 participants focused on hopes that the 2020 normalization between Israel and Morocco would spur greater medical cooperation.

November 5, 2022: Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, diplomatic advisor to the King of Bahrain, reaffirmed that the Abraham Accords bind the nations together and transcends partisan politics following the Israeli election on November 2nd. “We have an agreement with Israel, part of the Abraham Accords, and we will stick to our agreement and we expect it to continue in the same line and continue building our partnership together,” he told reporters.

November 7, 2022: While attending the COP27 UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Jordan’s King Abdullah. He also sat with Rishi Sunak, the new British Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a supporter of the Abraham Accords (see above).

November 7, 2022: The International University of Rabat and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signed an agreement to exchange experiences and enhance cooperation in scientific research and innovation.

November 8, 2022: Israel and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding to move ahead with the water-for-energy Prosperity Blue + Green agreement, after an initial examination of the project found it to be feasible. The deal, first announced in November 2020, is for Jordan to build 600 megawatts of solar power capacity that would be exported to Israel. In parallel, Israel would provide water-scarce Jordan with 200 million cubic meters (mcm) of desalinated water.

November 8, 2022: Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced that hundreds of top gaming stars from around the world, including participants from Abraham Accords countries, will arrive in Israel early next year for a one-of-its-kind electronic sports tournament. 

November 8, 2022: Israeli hydrogen company H2Pro and Moroccan renewable energy developer Gaia Energy signed a strategic agreement for the supply of green hydrogen

November 8, 2022: The first UK chief rabbi to ever visit the Emirates spoke in front of Islamic scholars and leaders at the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, and was welcomed to the Forum by its president, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, a revered Islamic scholar. During his remarks, Chief Rabbi Mirvis hailed the Abraham Accords for making this unprecedented development possible, and called on leaders to build on the historic peace that the Abraham Accords have brought about. 

November 9, 2022: A memorial event marking the Kristallnacht pogrom was held for the first time ever in the United Arab Emirates. Holocaust survivor Eve Kugler, 91, delivered the keynote address. She became the seventh Holocaust survivor to be brought to the UAE to speak about the Holocaust since the signing of the Accords. The UAE’s Education Ministry is working with Yad Vashem to incorporate education about the Holocaust in to elementary and high school curriculums. 

November 9, 2022: The Emirates’ Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in Abu Dhabi hosted a symposium on the results of the recent Israeli elections and the implications for the region. The conference, the first in an Arab state to feature so many Arab and Israeli speakers discussing internal Israeli affairs, was attended by many senior officials, as well as by the first Emirati ambassador to Israel and the Israeli ambassador to the UAE.

November 9-11, 2022: For the first time, Israeli companies, including Israeli Aerospace Industries and Rafael, exhibited their products in the first-ever Israeli pavilion at the Bahrain International Air Show.

November 10, 2022: UAE President and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed called Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory the previous week and to invite him to the United Arab Emirates.

November 10, 2022: In yet another indication of how the Abraham Accords have led to a trend towards normalization between Israel and its Arab neighbors, a deal was reached for direct flights between Ben Gurion airport and Hamad international airport in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

November 10, 2022: For the first time in history, a high-ranking Israeli Air Force commander visited the Kingdom of Bahrain to take part in a conference of international air force commanders.

November 10, 2022: The Embassy of the UAE in London held a screening of the award-winning documentary Amen-Amen-Amen. The documentary tells the story of the gifting of a Torah scroll by the Jewish community of the UAE to UAE’s current President Mohamed bin Zayed, dedicated in memory of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan. 

November 10, 2022: Morocco’s International University of Rabat (UIR) and Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) signed an agreement aiming to cement collaboration in scientific research and student exchange

November 13, 2022: Israel’s presumptive incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa over the phone. According to Netanyahu’s office, “the Crown Prince expressed Bahrain’s desire to broaden and deepen the relations between our countries and bring our collaboration to new heights,” while Netanyahu invited Al Khalifa to visit Israel soon.

November 14, 2022: Jordan’s King Abdullah II phoned incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory. 

November 14, 2022: Sudanese leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan sent a letter to Netanyahu expressing a desire to “continue the cooperation between us to advance ties in all fields for the benefit of citizens in both countries.”

November 14, 2022: Reports indicated that a senior Israeli official recently met with Oman's Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood al-Busaidi to advance ties and boost regional cooperation.

November 14, 2022: University of Haifa signed a first-of-its-kind trilateral collaboration agreement with United Arab Emirates University and the Germany-based GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel to investigate the consequences of climate change and pollution in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Gulf. Signed at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the Memorandum of Understanding is the first step towards a five-year research initiative in which the three institutions will ultimately develop mitigation strategies for the deterioration of marine ecosystems in the region.

November 15-16, 2022: Israel-headquartered global venture firm OurCrowd announced that it would be expanding its existing operations in the UAE with a venture capital (VC) office in Abu Dhabi and an artificial intelligence (AI) tech hub as part of a new agreement. One day prior, Israeli fintech company Liquidity Group announced it had signed a deal to open an R&D center in the UAE. OurCrowd and Liquidity are taking part in a $545 million Abu Dhabi government incentive program launched in 2020 through the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), that offers financial and non-financial incentives for global companies to expand their operations in Abu Dhabi. 

November 16-17, 2022: The Jerusalem Post and its media partners Global Media Holdings in Morocco and the Khaleej Times in the United Arab Emirates hosted the Global Investment Forum in Marrakech.

November 17, 2022: Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister and Jordan’s Water and Irrigation Minister signed a declaration of intent to partner in the ecological rehabilitation and sustainable development of the Jordan River, the first environmental agreement between Israel and Jordan since their 1994 peace treaty.

November 17, 2022: Morocco’s National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) and Israel’s national water company Mekorot signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a framework for the development of cooperation between the two institutions in the areas of drinking water and liquid sanitation. The agreement will enable the two companies to work together to promote joint cooperation activities in the fields of seawater desalination, performance improvement, water sanitation, digital systems management, R&D and innovation.

November 17, 2022: The first Israeli passport for an Israeli baby born in the United Arab Emirates was issued by the Embassy of Israel in Abu Dhabi.

November 17, 2022: The office of Israeli President Isaac Herzog announced that Herzog will visit Bahrain on December 4th, becoming the first Israeli president to visit Bahrain. On December 5, the president will depart Bahrain for the United Arab Emirates where he will attend the Abu Dhabi Space Debate and meet with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan -- the fourth meeting between the two leaders.

November 18, 2022: In another indication of how the Abraham Accords have led to stronger diplomatic ties between Israel and countries in the region, the Azerbaijani parliament approved a historic motion proposing to open the first embassy of a Shiite-majority state in Israel. 

November 21, 2022: Israel’s largest hospital Sheba Medical Center signed a MoU with G42 Healthcare, a large Abu Dhabi-based health-tech company focused on artificial intelligence-based innovations. 

November 21, 2022: Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry announced that Israel and Bahrain have successfully completed the first round of talks on a free trade agreement. 

November 24, 2022: The UAE-Israel Business Council, together with EBN & Co and other Israeli and Emirati law firms, held an event celebrating two years to the Abraham Accords, which was addressed by UK Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan OBE. Wigan affirmed the UK’s commitment to actively supporting the deepening of the Accords.

November 28, 2022: A delegation from the Habima National Theater is set to perform a popular musical, “Spanish Orchard,” in Morocco’s capital of Rabat, making it the first ever performance of the Israeli group in a Muslim country.

November 28, 2022: Israel’s Sheba Medical Center signed an MOU with UAE’s Jaheziya to collaborate on disaster preparedness.