August 27, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8912

Emirati Writers Praise Israel's Innovation And Scientific Achievements, Call To Benefit From Its Experience

August 27, 2020
United Arab Emirates | Special Dispatch No. 8912

Following the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel, writers in the Emirati media praised Israel's scientific and technological achievements and called on the Arabs to learn and benefit from its experience. In an August 19, 2020 article in the daily Al-Bayan, attorney and media figure Dr. Yousuf Al-Sharif described Israel as a country that, since its founding, has dealt with many difficult challenges on its own, and at the same time managed to attain impressive achievements in the domains of military technology, counterterrorism, industry, agriculture and irrigation. Learning from this experience, he said, can help the Arabs to enhance their security and counterterrorism capabilities, and to develop advanced industries as a way of resolving their unemployment problem. 

Manahel Thabet, an information economy expert of Yemeni origin who resides in Dubai, made similar arguments in an Al-Bayan article from August 21, 2020, in which she enumerated Israel's scientific achievements and described it as a world leader in research and technology. Welcoming a deal that has been signed by an Emirati technology company and an Israeli one following the normalization agreement,[1] she expressed hope that many additional deals will be signed, providing  "a golden opportunity to overcome the scientific stagnation that has afflicted the Arabs since the 12th century."   

The following are translated excerpts from the two articles:

Emirati Media Figure Dr. Yousuf Al-Sharif: We Must Learn The Secret Of Israel's Success And Endurance Amid Many Threats

Attorney and media figure Dr. Yousuf Al-Sharif wrote in his article, titled "What Can We Learn from Israel?": "In a courageous political and diplomatic move, our country, the UAE, the land of peace and security, signed a historic agreement for peace with Israel and [the establishment of] bilateral ties [with it] in many domains. We have much to learn from the Israeli experience in many areas. What experience [am I referring to] and what can we learn from Israel?

"In the 70 years since it declared its independence, Israel has faced many challenges: the challenges of establishing a state in the circumstances [that prevailed at the time] and of maintaining its security amid this historic conflict. This is experience we can benefit from and study in depth, putting aside our emotions and sympathy for one side at the expense of the other. The fact is that Israel has excelled at [maintaining its security]. Some may attribute this to the fact that, as the 'spoiled child' of the U.S., it receives advanced weapons from that country, but that is not the only reason. Israel has strategic military and defense plans that allowed it to stand fast throughout this period, despite [all] the wars it openly waged, [both] directly and indirectly, which almost threatened its existence. We should benefit from this experience and plumb the secrets that led to its [successful] outcomes.

Dr. Yousuf Al-Sharif (Source:

"In the recent years, the world has suffered continent-spanning terror, with bombings and terror attacks reaching many countries across the globe. Many advanced countries in Europe failed to protect their cities and citizens. This was a harrowing experience that undermined [the world's] security and stability, and the failure is due to weakness or to the infiltration of military intelligence apparatuses. Israel's general and military intelligence apparatus is one of the strongest in the world, and it possesses military technology that it developed extensively over the years, as a shield that contributes to the efforts to halt global terrorism. In this area in particular, many have tried to cooperate with Israel and benefit from this technology. But this technology never reached our Arab countries and we did not benefit from it, although we desperately need it in light of the ongoing threats posed by many elements that seek to infiltrate our Arab depth. In fact, we need this technology in order to secure our countries and protect the lives of our peoples. We must be realistic and [acknowledge] that Israel and the Israeli companies working in this field are more advanced than the [other] companies around the world and are several steps ahead of them. This means that we can derive a lot of benefit from [ties with Israel] in the coming years.

"In addition to the security sector, another sector we should study in depth is [Israel's] industry, which produces 26.5% of its GDP and employs 17% of its citizens -- figures that reflect Israel's industrial superiority and rich experience in this domain. This experience can benefit us if we import it to our countries, which suffer from unemployment and require industry initiatives in order to end it.  In this context, we can also benefit from Israel's expertise in agriculture, especially in advanced irrigation systems which will take the lead in the future, due to the dwindling of the world's water [sources] that threatens human life on the planet..."[2]

Information Economy Expert Manahel Thabet: Israel Is A World Leader In Science And Research; We Must Learn From It And Cooperate With It

Information economy expert Manahel Thabet likewise called to learn from Israel's excellence in science and technology. She wrote: "Science means adding other people's knowledge to your own… Who is Israel, in [the world of] science? How can we benefit from its scientific expertise? Let me try to answer these questions… Many countries in the world were quick to realize the importance of shifting to an information-based economy. One of these countries is Israel, which abandoned its agrarian economy in favor of an information-based one. Its interest in science and knowledge was a major element in the goal it set for itself: excelling in the industrial and military fields, and in every other domain, based on a well-ordered strategy with clear goals,  aimed at [cultivating] scientific research in all fields of knowledge.

Manahel Thabet (Source:

"Israel spends about 4.7% of its national income on scientific research, and its universities score high in global rankings… It has 55 institutions of higher education, including eight universities… Israel  engages in in-depth studies, which form the main basis for its strategies in every domain. Its education facilities adopt the German model and the elitist [approach], which places emphasis on scientific research and higher learning. Based on this perception, it cultivated the scientific infrastructure that yielded its advanced scientific abilities. The abilities of its research and development programs are manifested in [the activities of] some of its government institutions, including the Nuclear Research Center, the [Energy Ministry's] National Council for [Civil] Research and Development, and its departments… the [Economy Ministry's] technological incubators, and in the scientific and technological cooperation agreements [Israel has signed] with many of the world's developed countries.

"Scientific research in Israel focuses on the fields of computers, the information industry, the software industry, nuclear science and technology, the study of space and its applications, and biological and medical technology… Israel leads the world in production and research. Israeli researchers have published 138,881 well-conducted studies in scientific journals. [These are] high-quality studies, as evident from the fact that they have been cited 1,721,735 times… As for [Israeli] patents, they are the most blatant indication of the [gap] between the Arabs and Israel, which has registered about 16,805 patents… 

"I will suffice with this assessment and reiterate the claim I made at the start of this article -- 'Science means adding other people's knowledge to your own' -- in order to clarify that we must cooperate with Israel in the field of science, based on respect for the other and without underestimating him or looking down upon him… The first indication of this scientific cooperation is the great initiative of APEX, the UAE's national investment company specializing in research development, which has signed [a deal] with an Israeli counterpart in a serious effort to conduct scientific research towards finding a vaccine for the coronavirus. We need many more such deals, and this may be a golden opportunity to overcome the scientific stagnation that has afflicted the Arabs since the 12th century.

"Let me conclude by blessing the wise leadership of the UAE government and its efforts to do away with the complexes that [other] Arab governments have found no [cure] for except destruction, wars and devastation. We must remember that peace is made only amid disagreement, [based on] respect for the other."[3]


[1] The reference is to a deal signed on August 15, 2020 between the Emirati APEX National Investment company and Israel's Tera Group to cooperate on research and development related to COVID-19.

[2] Al-Bayan (UAE), August 19, 2020.

[3] Al-Bayan (UAE), August 21, 2020.

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