Israeli Companies Are Already Enjoying the Warming Relations with Uzbekistan In September, the glass ceiling was broken when Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and later Bahrain, announced that they would be normalizing relations, ending Israel's isolation in the Arab world

By Sudip Mazumdar

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As Israel solidifies peace agreements with three Arab nations, Israeli companies are already taking advantage of the warming relations with the former Soviet Central Asian country Uzbekistan.

In September, the glass ceiling was broken when Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and later Bahrain, announced that they would be normalizing relations, ending Israel's isolation in the Arab world. The succeeding peace agreements, called the "Abraham Accords", focused on quickly strengthening economic ties, including with some of Israel's leading start-up companies.

While the Arab-African nation of Sudan declared an end to their embargo of the Jewish state earlier this month, other Muslim-majority countries such as Uzbekistan have been building a quiet but strong relationship with leading Israeli companies, years before the new Arab spring (to Israel).

Established in 2010 by Georgian-Israeli entrepreneur Michael Mirilashvili, Watergen has become famous for making water out of thin air. As hundreds of millions of people suffer from water scarcity and lack access to clean water, Watergen's ground-breaking technology draws into local air humidity, purifies unwanted particles and condenses the air into clean food-grade water.

Watergen's generators have been used in countries like India, South Africa, Vietnam, Sierra Leone, China, and the United States. Last year, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of Uzbekistan, reportedly worth several million dollars, in an effort to bring the Israeli product across the dry, landlocked country.

Though ties between Israel and Uzbekistan are quiet, they have been welcomed. In 2016, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the newly elected President of Uzbekistan invited Shavkat Mirziyoyev and invited him to visit the State of Israel.

CAA Industries, an Israeli weapons giant, founded by CEO Moshe Oz, has recently engaged in a deal worth several million dollars with the Ministry of Defence in Uzbekistan. According to the deal, CAA Industries will replace thousands of Uzbek law enforcement and military assault weapons. CAA Industries is well-known for its patented "AK-Alfa", which is widely considered as one of the best rifles in the world, aside of other light weapons accessories.

Today, the need for resilient and reliable cyber security has become vital to protecting governmental and national data networks against foreign adversaries and other cyber-attacks. Israel is known as a world-leading cybersecurity giant, receiving 20 per cent of the global investment in cybersecurity.

According to a 2019 Forbes report, the Israeli cyber firm Candiru was potentially engaged in a deal with the government of Uzbekistan regarding "cyber weapons." The report also indicates a relationship between Candiru and NSO, another Israel-based technology surveillance company.

Since the signing of the "Abraham Accords", Israeli companies have signaled great enthusiasm to do business with the Arab Gulf states, though many are already enjoying the growing warming relations between Israel and Uzbekistan. Leading companies like Watergen, CAA Industries, Candiru and others have been building ties and are setting the stage for Israel to further strengthen relations in the region.

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