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Israeli businessmen participate in Saudi investment conference: Report

Avraham Berkowitz, an American, in beard and glasses, was among Jewish participants in Saudi Arabia’s investment conference this week.

The Israeli website, Globes, quoted a Saudi source as saying last week that Israeli businessmen arrive in the kingdom on a daily basis

October 28 2022

US media outlet, the Wall Street Journal, released a report on 28 October detailing the Israeli participation in a Saudi economic investment conference in Riyadh this week.

Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative Conference, which took place in the kingdom’s capital from 25 October to 27 October, was attended by a number of leading US business representatives, despite the heated dispute between the two longtime allies. Several Israeli businessmen were also present.

“The Middle East’s shifting dynamics were on display inside the marble halls of Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, host of the Future Investment Initiative, where businessmen in kippahs, the brimless cap worn by religious Jews, could be seen shaking hands with Saudis in traditional white robes,” the report states.

“In recent years, Saudi Arabia has hosted Jewish leaders in an interfaith-tolerance push and deepened covert business and security ties with Israel, which shares a common rival with the Saudi kingdom in Iran,” it adds.

Avraham Berkowitz, a Jewish US businessman who attended the conference, said that it “will become more normal to see members of the Jewish people that have been coming anyway, but now will feel more comfortable.”

The Israeli participation in this conference comes as part of a recent opening up of ties between Tel Aviv and Riyadh that was in part facilitated by US President Joe Biden’s visit to the kingdom in July, which centered on the “national security” of Israel, as Biden himself admitted.

This visit resulted in a number of agreements between Israel and Saudi Arabia, including the transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi control, and the opening of Saudi airspace to Israeli airliners.

Aside from this latest conference, as well as recent cooperation between the two, Israeli media has suggested that several senior security and political figures from Israel have visited the kingdom over the past decade.

One of these secret meetings was between former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) in November of 2020.

Last week, an Israeli media outlet quoted a Saudi source to have said that “representatives of Israeli companies and Israeli businessmen come to Riyadh daily, and participate in major projects, including the future city of NEOM,” referring to the controversial, futuristic megacity the kingdom is planning to construct.

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