Israeli Robotics Delegation To Dubai Marks Warming Gulf Ties
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted the country’s triumphant teen delegation to the unofficial «Robotics Olympics» on Wednesday after its groundbreaking visit to Dubai, giving public expression to the growing, and increasingly open, relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE’s issuing formal travel visas to the Israeli robotics team and extending an overtly warm welcome added a new layer of formality.
Emirati authorities have allowed Israeli officials to visit and the Israeli national anthem was played after an athlete won gold in an Abu Dhabi judo tournament.
On Tuesday, the Israeli Yediot Ahronot daily splashed a front-page headline that the UAE would allow the arrival of tourists on Israeli passports for the Expo.Last week’s robotics competition served as a sort of dry run.
The team of five Israeli teenagers and their coaches were participating in a robotics tournament that included 1,500 students from 190 other countries.
In attending the event, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry specifically mentioned the presence of the Israeli team as a hopeful message, as did Emirati officials themselves — who have sought to promote Dubai in particular as a hub of innovation that draws in the world’s brightest minds.
The Israeli team, hailing from Megiddo in northern Israel, surged through the competition by assembling a roving robot that effectively scooped balls up that represented human-created pollutants in the ocean.