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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanks, Arab boycott!

From Ha'aretz:
Thanks to the Arab boycott of Israel, which partially included Dubai, few Israelis have been exposed to the country's financial crisis. Few Israelis export to Dubai, and it seems very few have business connections with the government's Dubai World development arm, which has asked for a six-month moratorium on interest payments on its $59 billion in debt.

"Anyone involved in the business world has known for six months that Dubai is tottering," said an Israeli businessman with interests around the globe. "It is no wonder that the world crisis has reached them. They have no oil and they live on international trade and debt. There are insane real estate projects there, including artificial islands and extremely exhibitionistic buildings. Luckily, Israelis did not succeed in creating significant business dealings with Dubai, so the relationship between a few tycoons and the Dubai investment fund will not impact the Israeli economy," he said.

"There were several attempts by Israeli construction companies to participate in their large real estate projects, but it is not clear what came of those contacts," said an Israeli businessman knowledgeable about Israeli activities in Dubai.

Israel exported to Dubai only indirectly via other countries, said Dan Catarivas, the director of the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations of the Manufacturers Association. He said Israeli companies built small, portable desalinization plants there in cooperation with American firms. In addition, software companies tried to build Internet infrastructure through American and European firms, but had little success, said Catarivas. Israeli farmers also cooperate with Jordanian farmers to export fruits and vegetables to Dubai, he said.
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange indices are up today.

(h/t Meryl Yourish)