Two Israeli defense contractors and a United Arab Emirates (UAE) company will partner to “research and develop technology to tackle the coronavirus pandemic”.
Executives from each company, Group 42 (G42), an Abu Dhabi-based technology company, took part in a signing ceremony held yesterday with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense, which manufactures weapons for Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
The agreement comes after a senior UAE official last month said the two sides could possibly cooperate in the fight against COVID-19 technology and health security throughout the region.
IAI confirmed the deal in a statement, saying, “Israel Aerospace Industries signed a historic cooperation agreement with the company Group 42 from Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE.”
The partnership focuses on artificial intelligence, sensors and lasers, it added.
Last week, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the collaboration, without naming the companies, calling it a result of “extensive and intensive contacts in recent months and will bring a blessing to many in our region.”
Critics have said the UAE is attempting to use the pandemic to increase the pace of its normalization with Israel at the expense of the Palestinian issue.
Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that Mossad chief Yossi Cohen helped broker the deal.