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Sunday, 5 February 2017

How Israeli tech companies do business in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries

Israel’s security and tech firms do business in Saudi Arabia … just very quietly: In the relationship between Israeli tech firms and Saudi Arabia, good agreements and plausible deniability make “good neighbors,” Jonathan Ferziger and Peter Waldman write for Bloomberg Businessweek. They look at some of the cases where Israeli companies interacted with Arab governments, including the one of Shmuel Bar, whose company was approached by “someone from the upper echelons of power in Saudi Arabia” to use its Palantir-like technology to ferret out Saudi jihadis. The caveat was that he was asked to create a pass-through company to hide his own’s Israeli identity. “For now, ‘everything has to be under the radar,’ says Shabtai Shavit, the former Mossad chief. Another company’s technology, AGT International’s, came in handy in the UAE as it processed video and still images captured at the scenes of the stabbing of an American teacher in Abu Dhabi and identified the suspect within a day — who had also planted a bomb at a home there, which was diffused. “What always surprises me is how much money and technology and equipment flows between mortal enemies on the political stage,” one engineer says.

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