The UAE is not a liberal democracy, but it doesn’t have income tax, either — and it’s drawing Israeli companies and workers.
The Abraham Accords turned Dubai into a tourist destination of choice for Israelis. But that’s only part of the story. Almost under the radar, branches of Israel’s high-tech sector have moved to Dubai for a long-term stay.
Several Israeli entrepreneurs have established development centres in Dubai – and to relocate to the UAE city themselves. Rank-and-file high-tech staffers have decided to move to the Emirates over the past year. They don’t quite constitute an Israeli high-tech “community,” but their presence is growing.
Ron Daniel, who is the CEO of the Liquidity Group fintech firm, became the first Israeli entrepreneur to open a development centre in the UAE two years ago.
He explains that it’s very easy to recruit talent “because the quality of life is high and everyone wants to live here.
“As life in Israel becomes more difficult and tense, the employees look for serenity. I lived for many years in the United States, and as I see it, the Emirates are like Israel’s Miami. The flight takes just three hours, so you’re always surrounded by people from home who have stopped over for a weekend – unlike life in New York, where every visit is an event,” he said.
Daniel lives in Dubai with his family and his daughter attends a private, English-speaking Montessori kindergarten that also teaches French and Arabic.
“They also celebrate Jewish holidays there,” he notes.
“Israel really is home to me, but it’s like my parents’ house. There’s a stage in life when you enjoy visiting, but if you were to live there all the time, it would drive you crazy. I don’t know what it will be like here in the Emirates for the next generation, but for our generation, it’s a wonderful place.”
Israelis who moved to the UAE: ‘The smartest decision I’ve made’ (Haaretz)