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Israel International Relations: Israel - UAE Relations

Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a relatively nonexistant relationship. The UAE does not officially recognize Israel, and Israeli passport-holders cannot legally enter the country. The two do not have formal economic or diplomatic ties.

In late November 2015, the government of the United Arab Emirates granted Israel formal permission to establish a diplomatic office in Abu Dhabi. Although this signifies a slight warming in relations between the two countries, the UAE granted permission to Israel largely to facilitate it's membership in the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Officials from both countries have clarified that the diplomatic office serves the sole purpose of allowing Israeli diplomats to have a permanent office for IRENA, and reside there as well. This diplomatic relationship is comparable to the relationship between Iran and the United States, wherein Iran has a UN Mission in New York despite the lack of U.S.-Iranian diplomatic relations.

During the first week of November 2016, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, paid a secretive visit to the UAE to attend a conference under the auspices of his position as chairman of the UN legal committee. Danon's visit was conducted under stringent security measures, to avoid public opposition.

Some Israeli businesses conduct business in the UAE, and there is a small population of Israeli ex-patriot professionals working in the UAE. There are also citizens of Israel who hold dual citizenship and work in the UAE as citizens of other countries.

Source: Henderson, Simon. “Israel's gulf breakthrough,” The Washington Institute (November 30, 2015);
Roth, Daniel. “Report: Israel's UN ambassador made secret visit to Dubai,” Jerusalem Post (November 3, 2016);