Israel–United Arab Emirates relations
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.
Visits by Israeli Ministers
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.
Shahar Pe'er incident
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, 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. The WTA said that it would review future tournaments in Dubai. Due to the action, Tennis Channel decided not to televise the event and The Wall Street Journal dropped its sponsorship. 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.
Cooperation against Iran
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."
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. 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. Some Israeli companies conduct business in the UAE indirectly through third parties.
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.
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