The Who's Who of the first Israel-Dubai business conference

An Israeli delegation is traveling to the UAE for a historic summit to develop further trade and diplomatic relations

Naomi Zoref 18:2223.11.20
Two months after the peace treaty was signed between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, a plane is scheduled to take off from Ben-Gurion Airport and land in Dubai on Tuesday ahead of the first of its kind joint summit — The Israel Dubai Summit, a collaboration by Bank Leumi, Calcalist, and Channel 13, aimed at encouraging business relations between the two countries.


During the 3-day event, the 100-person delegation that includes businesspeople, senior Israeli economic figures, and CEOs of the largest Israeli companies, will meet with their UAE counterparts to jointly examine ways to deepen relations in the financial, technological, industry, agriculture, health, and tourism sectors.


Participants in the Israel-Dubai Conference (R to L): Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Abdullah ben Tuk Al-Ameri, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulyem and Sheikha Abdulla Al Nuaimi. Photo: Courtesy Participants in the Israel-Dubai Conference (R to L): Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Abdullah ben Tuk Al-Ameri, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulyem and Sheikha Abdulla Al Nuaimi. Photo: Courtesy


The conference will be led by Bank Leumi Chairman Dr. Samer Haj Yehia and Chief Executive Officer Hanan Friedman. Other senior executives who are part of the delegation include Natan Hetz, Shmuel Harlap, Shmuel Donnerstein, Dafna Harlev, David Fattal, Moshe Mano, David Forer, Ofra Strauss, Avi Fisher, Avi Gabbay, Rami Levy, Meir Linzen, Nachshon Kivity, Jack Bar, Achishai Gal, Sigal Regev-Rosenberg, Asa Levinger, Gabriel Rotter, Sigal Bar-On, Michal Geva, Barak Rosen, Itamar Deutscher, and Joanna Landau.



Bank Leumi Chairman Dr. Samer Haj Yehia (R), Chief Executive Officer Hanan Friedman (L) Bank Leumi Chairman Dr. Samer Haj Yehia (R), Chief Executive Officer Hanan Friedman (L)


“In the past few years, we’ve held many large and innovative international conventions in New York, San Francisco, London, Berlin, and Paris. Our first conference in Dubai, where senior business figures from both countries are meeting for the first time is the most exciting and important of them all,” Calcalist’s Founder and Publisher Yoel Esteron said ahead of the conference.


One of the conference’s leading speakers is UAE Minister of State of International Trade Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, who oversees developments in foreign trade and global cooperation in addition to improving the country’s investment ecosystem. Al Zeyoudi was appointed last July, and one of his main goals is to draw talented young people that live in the UAE to work in accordance with the country’s political strategy and help develop international trade that is not dependent on oil.


Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoud Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoud
Al Zeyoudi is responsible for expanding global cooperation around the environmental crisis. In his previous position, he served as a Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, where he oversaw the local implementation of strategies and promoted environmental and climate change legislation. He led efforts to limit and adapt to the repercussions of global climate change while focusing on maintaining the biodiversity of the UAE through developing and enacting a range of effective policies and measures.


Before entering this position, Al Zeyoudi served as a UAE representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and managed the Department of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He began his career as an oil engineer at a company that operated in Abu Dhabi’s maritime zone (ADMA-OPCO). Al Zeyoudi holds a bachelor’s in oil engineering from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology, an MA in management from the British University in Dubai, and a PhD in strategy and program project management from the School of Business Administration in France.


Abdullah ben Tuk Al-Ameri has served as the UAE Minister of Economy since July 2020. Prior to that, he filled several important positions in the government, including as the General Secretary of the Cabinet since 2017. In that position, he was responsible for strengthening relations between federal and local government organizations, where he led several initiatives aimed at establishing relations between the UAE and international organizations, such as the World Economic Forum. Currently, he serves as a manager of several federal bodies, which allowed him to promote projects such as the “Golden Visa” project whose goal is to attract talented people from around the world to the Emirates. Al-Ameri holds a bachelor’s in engineering from the University of Sheffield and is a graduate of the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Leadership Development program.


Abdullah ben Tuk Al-Ameri Abdullah ben Tuk Al-Ameri
Billionaire Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor is the chairman of the hotel and real estate chain Al Habtoor, which has assets estimated at more than $8.5 billion and is considered one of the most successful companies in the Gulf. Al Habtoor is a well-known and highly esteemed personality not only for his many business achievements but also for his broad knowledge of international politics, his peace-promoting efforts, and philanthropic activities.


Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor
Al Habtoor started his path as an employee of a local construction company and in 1970 founded his own company - Al-Habtoor Engineering. A year later the UAE unified and became a federation, which enabled and inspired innovative building projects, all of which turned out to be successfull. Al Habtoor’s journey is tied to that of the federation's and they grew and developed side by side over the past 50 years. Today, the Al Habtoor Group is considered one of the leading business corporations in the world, managing business and projects in every corner of the globe, not only in the fields of real estate and hospitality, but also in the fields of vehicles, leasing, education, and publishing.


Al Habtoor’s list of awards and merits is very long. He won the Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Business Excellence and Innovation (May 2018), the Lifetime Achievement Award for Business and Social Inclusion in recognition of excellent leadership both in and outside the UAE (April 2017), the Honorary Red Crescent Shield in the UAE for his contribution to humanitarian causes (November 2015), the Best Investor Award from the Tourism Communication Center in Abu Dhabi (September 2015), and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arab C3 Summit in New York City in recognition of his long term contributions to peace and prosperity and building support between the East and West (October 2014).


Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulyem is the group chairman and CEO of the logistics giant DP World, which is worth more than $26 billion and is involved primarily in real estate and development. He is one of the leading business people in Dubai that also serves as the chairman of the Ports Corporation.


Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulyem Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulyem
DP World specializes in cargo logistics, port terminals, maritime services, customs, and free trade zones. The company was built in 2005 through the merger of the Port of Dubai company with the International Port of Dubai. Every year, the company manages 70 million containers aboard 700,000 ships and is responsible for about 10% of the annual global container transport. Today, the company is considered one of the leading and most important port operators in the world and enables high volumes of trade through its 78 port terminals located across six different continents.


Bin Sulyem has worked extensively in the fields of trade and tourism infrastructure in Dubai and has taken a significant role in advancing the UAE’s industry and helping it become a global trading power. In addition to leading the rapid development of DP World, Bin Sulyem is responsible for the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone and its transformation into a business park that contains over 7,300 companies. He also founded and led Nakheel, a real estate and tourism company that has created many notable projects in Dubai, among them the Palm Islands, the largest man-made, artificial islands in the world. Bin Sulyem also founded Istithmar World, an investment fund that focuses on private capital with investment portfolios in various sectors of the world.


Thani Al Shirawi is the Vice-Chairman and Deputy Managing Director at Al Shirawi Group of Companies, which consists of more than 30 companies that are listed as the Top 100 Influential Companies in the Arab World by Forbes. Al Shirawi is involved in the oil and gas industry, engineering, and the transportation and logistics industries. The company was established in 1979. In 1981, it was appointed as the lone distributor of SCANIA trucks in Dubai and the UAE and became a leading heavy trucking company. In 1994, the company began to exclusively distribute SCANIA industrial and maritime engines. The company is now working to bridge the technological gaps, and bring the best global resources to Gulf countries. One of the unique points about the company is its ability to form many relationships with international companies in the fields of licensing, distribution, service, and trade, and is proud of its strict corporate responsibility policy and its benefits for employees - almost 20% of whom have college degrees and have been trained by companies overseas.


Thani Al Shirawi Thani Al Shirawi

Sultan Ahmed Ben Sulyem is Chairman and CEO of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), the largest free zone in the Emirates with over 18,000 registered companies. He led the growth from a young company with 28 employees in 2003 to the leading world free trade zone with over 18,000 companies from 180 countries, and 60,000 employees in 2020. Under his leadership in 2020, the company was named “World Free Trade Zone of the Year” by the Financial Times for the sixth time in a row. Ben Sulyem led the growth of the company’s main project, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, a 200-acre business and residential area with more than 10,000 residents who live and work in 87 towers. He also chairs the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) and the Dubai Gold and Commodity Exchange (DGCX).


Sultan Ahmed Ben Sulyem Sultan Ahmed Ben Sulyem


Ahmed Nasser Al Nowais is the founder and CEO of Annex Investments. Al Nowais founded his company with the goal of promoting the UAE as a center of global tourism, trade, and culture in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision, a program that aims to promote the UAE as a leading economic center to support small businesses and startups. The company combines different investment strategies in various diverse sectors both geographically and in their fields of operation, to bring maximum returns to investors. The company also works to promote big business ideas that could bring about significant change in the sectors in which they operate, and work mainly with international bodies whose goal is to spur economic growth by supporting socio-economic developments and forming strategic partnerships that will lead to long-lasting communication.


Al Nowais is considered an expert in setting up and managing businesses, and managing venture capital investments. These ventures benefit from a broad network of resources, and an entire ecosystem that supports the promotion and creation of startups. Al Nowais believes that it operates out of a commitment to promote technology and innovation while supporting business ventures that offer groundbreaking solutions and shatter barriers in many industries worldwide. Today, the company invests in the fields of technology, mainly in startup companies that can lead the technological world into the future; in vehicles, primarily car rentals and private driver services; and health and fitness, and operates a network of health and fitness service providers from the “Level Up” brand which are operated and promoted in luxury hotels and spas across the UAE.


Farook Hasan Hussein Alzeer is the CEO of DB Schenker, one of the world’s leading global logistics providers. DB Schenker supports global industry and commodity exchanges through integrated logistics that include worldwide land, air, and sea transportation and supply chain management. Integrated logistics is one of the most important factors in the world of trade and enables efficient connections between merchants. DB Schenker promises the smooth flow of goods and ensures that supply chains remain as efficient as possible.


Farook Hasan Hussein Alzeer Farook Hasan Hussein Alzeer


Raza Jafar is a philanthropist and serial entrepreneur. He is the founder of the Global Sustainability Network, which focuses on SDG8 - the eighth goal of the UN 17 goal plan to establish a more sustainable human society, and to create a decent work environment, and spur economic growth. Jafar works mainly in the areas of job creation, youth unemployment, and ending modern-day slavery. His business ventures include banks, insurance companies, private airlines, real estate, and hospitality companies. Now, his main focus is on health and bringing innovative technological tools, and emphasizing excellent service to promote good and equal health services in the developing world.


Raza Jafar Raza Jafar

Vikram Shroff is the director of the global division of the agritech giant UPL. The company was founded five years ago and is the fifth largest of its kind for seed production. Today it operates in 138 countries and has a growth rate of 15% per year - the largest in its industry. The company specializes in solving issues related to agriculture through R&D and industrial assimilation with 12,000 products and 1,300 registered patents. It is ranked as the leading agrochemical company in the world by the Sustain analytics rating agency for ESG companies. Vikram is a member of the Shroff family, which is well-known for its work in the social and educational sectors. The company assists more than 5,000 students a year in different welfare programs. Vikram is the recipient of the World Philanthropist Award in Dubai for 2018.


Sheikha Abdulla Al Nuaimi is the Operations Executive Director of Ajman Free Trade Zone, which features more than 12,000 companies. In addition to managing Ajman, she manages the corporate project management office. Al Nuaimi has over nine years of experience in the fields of project management, IT, knowledge management, strategic planning, and excellence. She is a project management expert, certified by the PMI (American Project Management Institute) with a bachelor’s in computer science and a master’s in business administration with training in human resource management from the Canadian University of Dubai and a master’s in administration and leadership. For her work at Ajman, she was awarded a gold medal of excellence.


Arshi Ayub Mohamed Zaveri is the CEO of TrustWithTrade Group and a senior advisor to the Royal Family in the UAE. The TrustWithTrade Group has been operating in Abu Dhabi for four decades in the fields of services and trade in the oil and gas industry, healthcare, fintech, and blockchain technologies. In addition, the group invests in capital, promotes startups, and mentors young entrepreneurs. It has extensive business and economic knowledge in the UAE, Asia, and Middle Eastern markets, and is working to build long term partnerships around the world. It also has partnerships with manufacturers, suppliers, and industry leaders in the U.S. and Europe. Throughout her career, Zaveri has focused on producing strategic partnerships, economic and political management, and providing business and financial assistance to developing countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. She is a graduate of the School for Economics and Public Policy at Oxford.


Arshi Ayub Mohamed Zaveri Arshi Ayub Mohamed Zaveri

In addition, she serves as a senior adviser to the royal family, primarily in the fields of investments in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and has been recognized as an Ambassador of World Peace.