A number of Israeli companies are planning to invest in the new Saudi city of NEOM, which was announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman days ago.
The news organisation said reports in the Jerusalem Post revealed that Israeli private sector companies are planning to invest in the new smart city which is relatively close to Israel.
Meanwhile, other reports revealed that Russia and China – the main investors in the project – are interested in involving Israel as it has terminals on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean so that they can move exports through it instead of sailing around Sinai and paying fees for the Suez Canal.
A Saudi official told Anadolu that it is “impossible” to have an overt Israeli presence in the new city “as long as there are no overt diplomatic relations between the two countries.”
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that any Israeli presence would be secret.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia officially launched NEOM, a developmental project which will create an economic zone spanning the country and parts of Egypt and Jordan.
Designed to free the Kingdom of its dependency on oil, it will focus on industries including water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment; at an estimated cost of $500 billion.
The project is part of Bin Salman’s 2030 economic vision, which he has also promised will come with modernisation.
Jerusalem Post reported famous Israeli businessman Erel Margalit speaking about economic opportunities for Israel in the Saudi Smart City, saying: “What politicians don’t understand: things don’t happen unless there are business opportunities.”
Margalit, who earlier this year visited a number of Arab Gulf countries to discuss economic cooperation with Israel, added: “There is a lot of discussion with Arab businessmen and political figures; most of these discussions are very quiet and private.”
He stressed: “The fact that [Prince] Salman came up with this announcement to call for cooperation on a regional level… It is giving Israelis an opportunity to speak in the name of regional economic cooperation through the concept of innovation. This is going to be the biggest drive of change in the region.”
Hani Al-Alami, a Palestinian businessman famous in communication sector, said that Israel has better opportunities than other countries to have a presence in this city thanks to its development in the IT sector.
Al-Alami added: “Israeli companies are developed in the cyber and internet sector which is taking over across the globe.”