Emirati economic delegation quietly visited Israel, was accosted on Temple Mount

Visit of representatives from major state-linked UAE company first reported after verbal spat with Palestinians in Jerusalem; group also met with agriculture minister

UAE members of an unofficial agricultural delegation meet with Israelis to discuss advancing economic cooperation between the two countries

Aaron Boxerman reports in Times of Israel, 19 October 2020

Even as the Knesset voted to approve historic normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday night, an economic delegation of citizens from the Gulf nation was quietly visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

“An Emirati delegation headed by His Excellency Khadim Abdullah Al Dar’i, Vice Chairman and Founding Partner of Al-Dahra Agriculture, visited the State of Israel,” the Emirati official WAM news agency confirmed in a statement on Monday.

Al-Dahra Agriculture is a major exporter of animal feed and other essential food commodities, such as flour and rice. Even though Al-Dahra is a state-linked enterprise, the Emirati group that arrived in Jerusalem was not an official government-to-government delegation. Rather, Al-Dar’i and his team arrived at the invitation of Netafim, a major Israeli irrigation technology firm.

A spokesperson for Netafim did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but according to the Emirati press release, Netafim will open a regional office in the UAE where it will collaborate with Al-Dahra.

Members of the delegation also met with Agriculture Minister Alon Schuster, who announced that a memorandum of understanding had been signed between his ministry’s Volcani research institute and the Al-Dahra company.


“The meeting I had this week with Khadim al-Dar’i — a senior member of a company that focuses on food production around the world — was a dream come true for peace-seeking Zionists,” Schuster said in a post on his Facebook page.

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