DUBAI: Israeli May Tager has become the first model from her country to pose for a photoshoot in the United Arab Emirates, after the two nations agreed to normalize relations last month. She posed in modest pajamas during a desert shoot alongside a UAE-based model known as Anastasia. Israel and the UAE on Aug 13 agreed to normalize relations, making the UAE the first Gulf country and the third Arab state to do so when a final agreement is signed.
The shoot, which involved the models waving the Israeli and UAE flags, took place in the sands of Dubai, one of the UAE’s seven emirates and a regional tourism and business hub. FIX is an Israeli woman’s lingerie and pajama brand. Out of respect for customs in the UAE, they modeled only pajamas. “We respect the rules here,” said Tager.
Easily accessible visas for Israeli citizens and direct flights between the countries have not yet been established, so the photoshoot team arrived on flights via Europe and on non-Israeli second passports. “The moment we heard about the normalization agreement we thought it would be the most exciting thing to film in Dubai,” said producer Noya Yohananoff, adding that getting the right paperwork took some time to figure out.
Meanwhile, the head of Israel’s largest bank led a delegation of businesspeople on the first Israeli economy-focused visit to the UAE since the agreement to normalize ties. Yesterday’s visit, led by Bank Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler, included a small group of businesspeople from fields including high-tech, financial technology and industry. Kotler described the visit as “the first, groundbreaking step, with great expectations ahead”.
“We believe that direct and discreet communication with heads of the banking systems and economic figures can enable direct business,” he said before boarding the private jet carrying the delegation to Dubai. He added that in light of the global economic downturn due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the delegation was looking for “new growth engines”.
The two-day trip is set to include meetings with bankers and businesspeople first in Dubai, then in Abu Dhabi, a Hapoalim spokeswoman said. A separate Israeli business delegation led by the heads of Bank Leumi, Israel’s other major commercial bank, is due to travel to the UAE on Sept 14. A UAE delegation has been invited to visit the Jewish state by the Israeli government, but no date has been set, an official in Jerusalem told AFP.
Israel and the UAE have stressed the economic benefits that normalization could bring, with several business cooperation agreements already signed. An Israeli delegation last week visited Abu Dhabi for normalization talks. – Agencies