Israel–United Arab Emirates relations

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Israel-United Arab Emirates relations
Map indicating locations of Israel and United Arab Emirates


United Arab Emirates

Israel – United Arab Emirates relations do not currently exist. The United Arab Emirates does not recognize Israel as a state and the two countries do not have diplomatic or economic relations. Israel in 2015 opened an official diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi to the International Renewable Energy Agency.[1][2][3]


Visits by Israeli Ministers[edit]

On January 16, 2010, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure Uzi Landau attended a renewable energy conference in Abu Dhabi. He was the first Israeli minister to ever visit the UAE.[4]

In January 2016, Israel’s Energy Minister visited the United Arab Emirates.[5]

Mabhouh assassination[edit]

The assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 19, 2010, led the UAE to call for the arrest via Interpol of Meir Dagan, director of Israel's Mossad. Israel has neither denied nor confirmed any involvement. Dubai's Chief of Police, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, stated that all travelers suspected of being Israeli will not be allowed into the country, even if they arrived on foreign passports.[6]

Shahar Pe'er incident[edit]

In February 2010, Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe'er was denied a visa by the UAE, and thus prevented from playing at the Dubai Tennis Championships. A number of players, among them Venus Williams,[7] condemned the visa rejection, and Women's Tennis Association chief Larry Scott said that he had considered canceling the tournament, but chose not to after consulting Pe'er. Tournament director Salah Tahlak said that Pe'er was refused on the grounds that her appearance could incite anger in the Arab country, after she had already faced protests at the ASB Classic over the Gaza War.[8] The WTA said that it would review future tournaments in Dubai.[9] Due to the action, Tennis Channel decided not to televise the event[10] and The Wall Street Journal dropped its sponsorship.[11] The 2008 winner of the men's singles Andy Roddick chose not to defend his title, with prize money of over $2 million, to protest against the UAE's refusal to grant Pe'er a visa. "I really didn't agree with what went on over there. I don't know if it's the best thing to mix politics and sports, and that was probably a big part of it," Roddick said.[12]

Cooperation against Iran[edit]

In June 2017, leaked e-mails revealed that the UAE and Saudi Arabia cooperate with Israel against Iran. Close relations were established between the UAE and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a pro-Israel, neoconservative think tank also known for its influence on the administration of US President Donald Trump, in order "to find ways of hampering Iran’s ability to engage in business activities with major companies around the world."[13][14]


As the UAE does not officially recognize Israel, Israeli passport-holders cannot legally enter the UAE. Restrictions were tightened against the entry of Israeli citizens following Mahbouh's assassination in Dubai, blamed on Israeli intelligence.[15] However, there are Jewish expatriates in the UAE, and there are Israelis with dual citizenship who live, visit and work in the UAE as citizens of other countries.[16] Some Israeli companies conduct business in the UAE indirectly through third parties.[16]


In August 2016, pilots from both the Israel Air Force and the UAE Air Force participated in a joint Red Flag training exercise with pilots from Pakistan and Spain, in Nevada in the United States.[17][18][19]

In 2017, the Israel Air Force and the UAE Air Force held a joint exercise with the air forces of the US and Italy and Greece, in Greece, called Iniohos 2017.[17][19]


  1. ^ "Exclusive: Israel to Open First Diplomatic Mission in Abu Dhabi - Israel News - Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News Source". Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  2. ^ Weinglass, Simona. "In diplomatic first, Israel to open mission in Abu Dhabi". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  3. ^ Israel Is Strengthening Its Ties With The Gulf Monarchies | The Huffington Post
  4. ^ "Landau 1st Israeli minister to visit Abu Dhabi - Israel News, Ynetnews". 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  5. ^ Why Israel and the Arab nations are slowly drawing closer together
  6. ^ "Dubai police chief bars all suspected Israelis entering UAE | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived February 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Dubai faces censure over Peer ban". BBC Sport. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  9. ^ "UAE denies visa to Israeli tennis player -". CNN. February 15, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  10. ^ Sandomir, Richard. "Tennis Channel Won’t Televise Dubai Event in Protest." The New York Times. February 16, 2009. Retrieved on February 18, 2009.
  11. ^ Ovide, Shira. "Journal Drops Dubai Tennis Sponsorship." The Wall Street Journal. February 18, 2009. Retrieved on February 18, 2009.
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "'Israelis No Longer Allowed in Dubai After Hamas Hit' - Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News Source". 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  16. ^ a b Friedman, Ron. "Israelis doing business in Dubai will wait out storm - Middle East - Jerusalem Post". Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  17. ^ a b Israeli Air Force holds joint exercise with United Arab Emirates, U.S. and Italy - Israel News -
  18. ^ Israel, UAE to fly together in Greek air force exercise | The Times of Israel
  19. ^ a b Danger zone: UAE and Israel in joint air-force drills