“Our big dream is to create a common market for the entire Middle East, for the 400 million people who live in it,” says Dr. Raphael Nagel, founder of the Abrahamic Business Circle, and provides an optimistic forecast of the potential economic and social benefits of Israel-Arab peace agreements.
Nagel – a well-known international investor, lobbyist, author and philanthropist – grew up in Germany and Spain and has been doing business in Dubai since 2001, where he heads a private investment firm. Last year he founded the Abrahamic Business Circle, a group that includes business owners of all religions from around the world, designed to create a global business network focused on the Middle East.
“I have always admired the policy of the United Arab Emirates, in terms of its openness,” Nagel says. As an example of the tolerance and diversity of the Emirates, he cites the Abrahamic Family House, a unique project currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, which combines a mosque, a church and a synagogue in three buildings located in the same complex.
Members of the business circle come from various places around the world, including the Gulf countries, Israel, Pakistan, Sudan, Morocco and Algeria. The group provides members with a global network of capital raising contacts, the ability to buy and sell companies and locate potential investments, joint ventures and new customers.
To this end, the organization sponsors events that take place throughout the year, where members can meet and do business with each other. Once a year, a conference is held that attracts between 300 and 400 participants, which is also intended, among other things, to create business relationships between the members.
Already in the group’s first workshop, investment adviser Tatiana Vishnevskaya and Faiz al-Mazami, senior adviser to Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum Juma al-Maktoum, a member of the Dubai royal family, signed a joint working agreement to bring $ 100 million in direct investment to the UAE Next 12 months.
The Sheikh, patron of the Abrahamic Business Circle, said: “The global members of the organization, including the Jewish and Arab business communities, all shared a vision of tolerance, prosperity and economic peace, which is perfectly suited to the cosmopolitan and multicultural environment of the United Arab Emirates.”
On April 5, the group will sponsor the first UAE health conference to be held in Dubai. This is a meeting intended for management members from hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, investment companies, financial institutions, health insurance companies and medical supply companies. More than 200 companies will attend the conference sponsored by the Jerusalem Post, the Halidge Times and other leading companies and organizations.
“We are expecting about 350 people,” says Nagel. “This is a pretty big event, considering we’re still in the Corona era.” He says that guests from Israel will also attend the conference, including members of the Hadassah Medical Center and the Schneider Children’s Medical Center. For Nagel, the conference is another example of how the Abrahamic Business Circle is directly involved in creating a global business network.
The event will include meetings on various topics, including investment in health, the advanced quality of medical care for children, medical tourism between the United Arab Emirates and Israel and digital innovation in pharmacy. A special award will be presented at a conference for Save A Child’s Heart from Israel, which since 1995 has cared for more than 5,700 children with congenital heart disease.
The health conference will also be held under the auspices of Sheikh al-Maktoum. Nagel explains that his support “also shows that the politics of this country are open to all Jews around the world and to all nations.” He adds that as a Jew living in Dubai he does not experience prejudice.
According to him, cordial business relationships can eventually lead to close personal ties between peoples. “We see economic diplomacy as a tool for creating long-term ties between populations of different countries and religions,” he explains. In his view, business relationships eventually lead to closer human relationships. “And that’s what we want to promote,” he says.
Nagel’s new collaborative project is the “Digital Technology Center”. “We want to create a space where business people and scientists from all over the world can work together in collaboration. We want to create a technology campus here in Dubai, where people can live and work together – Jews, Muslims, Hindus, everyone.” Nagel and his partners are looking for investors for the campus, which will begin operations later this year.
Nagel encourages Israelis to join the Abrahamic Business Circle and explains that Israeli companies can expand the business range of their activities. “We believe that every Israeli company should have an office in Dubai, because we are in the most central location,” he notes. “Currently, if you have a company in Israel, you are not able to export to Pakistan, for example, which is a market with a population of 212 million people. I can serve them here from Dubai, but you can not serve them from Israel. We have great logistics and we have a great banking system. “I think Dubai can be the door to the world or to many countries that Israelis currently do not have easy access to.”
The Abrahamic Business Circle has several advisory council members from Israel, including Rina Rieger, a businesswoman who was in charge of foreign affairs at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office from 2000-2003. He expects that the Avraham agreements will lead to the entry of Israeli high-tech into the emirates and make the United Arab Emirates one of the centers of technology in the world.
Nagel predicts that the volume of trade between the two countries will reach about $ 5 billion a year. “There is great potential here in a country like Dubai, where 205 different nations live together. They are doing something right here, because in fact we live peacefully together.”
Nagel advises Israelis who want to do business in the Emirates to be transparent and honest in their business conduct. “Try to understand the local culture a bit and build a personal relationship,” Nagel says.
“We would be happy for more Israelis to join the organization,” he adds. “We want them because for us they are a bridge between the peoples. If there is a real business here, a real relationship will be forged.”