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Why wait to establish diplomatic relations when there are many opportunities for doing business in the gray areas that exist between Saudi Arabia and Israel?
This is the approach taken by Bruce Gurfein , a Jewish-American entrepreneur who has lived in the Persian Gulf for 25 years. Working from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, the 45-year-old New Yorker brokered indirect Arab-Israeli deals long before the 2020 Abraham Accords normalized Israel's ties with the UAE and Bahrain.
To demonstrate that the Saudis are open to informal ties with Israel, Gurfein set out last week in his Nissan Armada SUV on the long road from the UAE to Israel. Throughout the trip, he tweeted about his journey to Israel through Saudi territory.
Gurfein is the CEO of Connect LLC, a technology investment company owned by Abdullah Al Naboudah, one of the UAE's richest men. He is trying to set up a business accelerator in Saudi Arabia that will attract companies that are developing new methods of desert farming and food security. According to him, these companies may be from different countries, including Israel.
Gurfein's route started in the UAE, after which he entered the eastern part of Saudi Arabia and passed through the entire kingdom. He and his travel partner Joe Cohen held business meetings in the capital Riyadh and toured some of the country's cultural attractions. On Friday, he entered Israel and completed his journey in Jerusalem. Next week he will start his return trip.
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