Days of Palestine – Riyadh
A Saudi family investment vehicle which owns the world’s largest Islamic bank has become the biggest shareholder in Israeli mobility intelligence company Otonomo Technologies Ltd.
Mithaq Capital SPC, a family office for the Al-Rajhi family that is incorporated in the Cayman Islands but headquartered in Riyadh, recently increased its stake in the Israel-based company to 20.41%, according to a July 20 regulatory filing which was first reported by Globes.
“We like the innovation and the technology culture that Israel has, and we try to find ways to benefit from that,” said Muhammad Asif Seemab, managing director of Mithaq Capital.
“As part of our investment process – other than Shariah compliance – we are country-agnostic, and sector-agnostic,” he added.
Otonomo is an automotive technology company that uses data and intelligence to “deliver advanced driver solutions”. It is headquartered in Herzliya Pituach, an affluent beachfront neighbourhood north of occupied Tel Aviv.
Otonomo said in a statement that it is “familiar with Mithaq and see this holding increase as an endorsement of Otonomo’s technology and strategy.”
The family owns Al-Rajhi Bank – the world’s largest Islamic bank, with assets of $125bn. The bank has around 600 branches in Saudi Arabia and over 1,400 ATMs, making it among the largest retail and commercial banking operations in the kingdom.
It also owns Al-Rajhi Factory for Plastic and Foam Industries and Al-Watania, one of the leading chicken-processing companies in the Middle East.
This makes the family the richest non-royal clan in Saudi Arabia.
According to reports, this is not the first time that Mithaq Capital SPC has become the biggest shareholder in an Israeli firm. It is already the largest shareholder in Israeli digital advertising company, Tremor International Ltd.
Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with ‘Israel’, but there have been long-reported initial stages of normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and the occupation state of ‘Israel’, after the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, under the so-called Abraham Accords, a pact brokered by the United States, normalized ties with ‘Israel’ in 2021.
Calling them as a “stab in the back,” Palestinians condemned the normalization agreements, saying they encouraged Israel’s denial of their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.
However, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly clarified its position regarding the normalization with ‘Israel.’
“Riyadh supports full normalization with Israel, but first a permanent and complete peace agreement should be approved that guarantees the Palestinians their state with dignity,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud once said.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan also said during an interview with CNN in April 2021 that normalization had been on the table since the introduction of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative on the condition of reaching a resolution with the Palestinians.
“I think normalizing Israel’s status within the region would bring tremendous benefit to the region as a whole,” he said. “It would be extremely helpful both economically but also socially and from a security perspective.”
But such a process, he said, “can only be successful if we address the issue of the Palestinians and if we are able to deliver a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders that gives the Palestinians dignity and gives them their rights.”