DUBAI - Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Friday signed a health agreement between the UAE's largest health player and Israeli's largest hospital, as the two sides seek to draw economic benefits from their almost three-year relationship.
PureHealth and Sheba Medical Center said they would cooperate on research, medical tourism, training and medical technology, under the memorandum of understanding.
The UAE became the first Gulf country to normalise relations with Israel in 2020, breaking with decades of Arab policy towards the Palestinian cause.
Both countries have pushed economic and trade cooperation as a way to show other countries the benefits of dealing with Israel.
Friday's agreement is the second UAE-Israel deal in as many days. On Thursday, Abu Dhabi's artificial intelligence firm G42 and Israeli investment group Viola announced a platform to supply high-skilled tech workers.
The UAE has indicated it is committed to a long-term strategic relationship with Israel despite periods of political turbulence over policy and comments towards Palestinians by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government that have drawn UAE condemnation.
"As much as we can prove that those relations are successful, we'll see more countries looking at us and saying: Why not us?" Israeli Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Amir Hayek told Reuters.
"If you will ask me how relations are, I will talk numbers ... We are not counting handshakes and receptions, we are counting numbers," Hayek said.
Bilateral trade in the first four months of this year reached $990.6 million, putting it on track to reach $3 billion by the end of the year, and $3.45 billion in 2024, Hayek said.
PureHealth, the UAE's largest healthcare provider, is majority owned by Abu Dhabi investment fund ADQ, and a stake is held by International Holding Company, both chaired by Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the national security adviser and a brother of UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. He also chairs G42.
(Writing by Lisa Barrington; editing by Barbara Lewis)