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Defense Expo IDEX and Gulfood opened in the UAE, but no Israelis



Two important large-scale events started in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, and many Israeli participants may not like to travel.

After experiencing a whirlwind hug last year, about 130,000 Israelis went to Dubai. The closure of Ben Gurion Airport in January made people feel at a loss because people did not participate in important UAE events.

Other countries such as India have also invested a lot of resources on Gulfood and the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX).

About 2500 exhibitors from 85 countries came to Gulfood. Belarus, Egypt and many other countries have exquisite booths and stalls, as well as food workshops and discussions on how technology can change the food industry and how to overcome challenges during the pandemic. According to reports, the UAE has ensured compliance with the best health protocols. The World Expo was held at the Dubai World Trade Center.
At the same time, in Abu Dhabi, a large-scale defense expo called IDEX also opened on Sunday. Like Gulfood, it will run for five days. As many as 40 Israeli companies should open for the first time this year. They will set up a booth in the Israel Pavilion. ISDEF is part of the Avnon Group, organizing an important Israeli presence and investing in it.
However, the Israeli authorities refused to exempt Israel from closing the airport, thereby preventing Israeli attendance. This makes the company confused and unsure what to do. Some people were able to find locals to manage their stalls at the last minute.
The head of the Israeli delegation to the UAE, Eitan Na̵
7;eh, attended IDEX and posted a photo next to the booth of SIBAT, the International Defense Cooperation Agency of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

For example, IAI stated that it has a booth in IDEX where visitors can make virtual connections. Raphael Advanced Defense Systems also has an impressive booth, which is managed by a Spanish subsidiary PAP.
Many other companies cannot participate. Some people turned to the Israeli courts to see if they could go at the last minute. This is a blow to smaller companies that want to showcase their products and meet new potential customers.
The military and defense and homeland security companies, as a whole, have not seen budget reductions due to COVID-19, because long-term procurement and challenges still exist in terms of security and defense.
For example, the recent drone threats against Saudi Arabia and the rocket attacks against US forces in Iraq have both increased the importance of air defense. Israel announced the results of Arrow-4’s work last week.
This shows that when it comes to various new defense technologies, a large-scale defense exhibition like IDEX is needed. It seems that apart from Israel, all other countries in the Middle East and surrounding regions are aware of this.
This is strange considering that Israel is called an “emerging country” and has some of the largest defense companies in the world, including IAI, Rafael and Elbit Systems.
Israel is a pioneer in many technologies, including air defense, anti-drone and guerrilla ammunition. The Jewish state is also a pioneer in the application of electro-optics, surveillance and artificial intelligence. Abu Dhabi and IDEX are important hubs for new defense customers, including India.
As Israel’s presence on IDEX diminished, many other interesting systems were demonstrated. According to reports, the UAE’s Highland System is showing off its Storm amphibious hybrid utility vehicle. India sent a naval ship to participate in the exhibition. IDEX has a naval component NAVDEX. The Minks Wheel Tractor Factory also sent a delegation.
General Atomics also demonstrated the new technology of drones on IDEX. The company said: “Unmanned aviation systems are only as useful as the sensors they can carry.” Israel has a large number of such sensors and unmanned aircraft, including aviation orbiters, IAI’s herons and Elbit’s Hermès.
Israeli companies should be able to have greater influence in this event. In the end, about 1,300 suppliers came to IDEX, and it seems that most of Israel’s presence has not been realized. This may change in the next few days, but so far, the airport closure has prevented Israelis from participating in this event.

Not all defense transactions will happen in such a major event. They lasted for several years through joint ventures, cooperation and discussions.

Since the procurement process takes years or even decades, missing IDEX is just one thing. However, this is symbolic and important because this is the first year that Israeli companies could have made public appearances.




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