January 26, 2021

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The times they are a changin’–UAE company signs agreement with Israeli defense contractors


A press release from the Emirates News Agency:

ABU DHABI, 2nd July, 2020 (WAM) — Group 42 (G42), a leading technology company based in Abu Dhabi, announced today it has signed Memoranda of Understanding with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Rafael, and Israel Aerospace Industries, IAI, two leading Israeli technology companies, to explore collaborations in the research and development of effective solutions to combat SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 disease.

Executives from each company took part in a signing ceremony held via video conference between the UAE and Israel.

During the event, they discussed how they might capitalise on their respective expertise and technologies to develop cutting-edge solutions and medical initiatives that would benefit, not only the populations of both countries, but humanity as a whole.

This joint initiative brings together some of the most active players in the Covid-19 response in the region and aims to leverage their combined knowledge, human and technological assets, and other resources to accelerate the delivery of breakthrough solutions to safeguard the public health and support the global fight against the pandemic.

G42 is nominally an independent company specializing in artificial intelligence. However, its website makes clear that it works closely with, and aligns with, the strategic direction of the Abu Dhabi government.



While Israeli defense contractors have indeed pivoted to fighting the pandemic, they are still defense contractors –and the UAE chose those companies specifically to partner with. These are the very companies that Israel haters call out as violators of human rights.

My guess is that this agreement was made with a view to the future where Israel and Gulf countries will cooperate on military technology. After all, G42 could have chosen to partner with Israeli universities or pharmaceutical companies, and instead chose not one but two major military suppliers.

The UAE not only doesn’t care about what the pro-Palestinian crowd thinks, it is highlighting this agreement with the Israeli defense contractors  in its media.

This rapprochement between formerly bitter enemies shows what peace will look like and how we will get there. National decisions are driven by self-interest and Israel has a lot more to offer than Palestinians do.

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