July 3, 2020 / 7:01 AM / a month ago

Israeli defense contractors partner with UAE tech firm to fight coronavirus

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Two Israeli defense contractors said on Friday they were partnering with Abu Dhabi-based Group 42 to develop technologies that will help fight the new coronavirus.

Israel has no diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab countries, but common concerns over Iran’s regional influence have led to a limited thaw in ties. Last month, a senior United Arab Emirates official said the countries could possibly cooperate in the fight against coronavirus and on technology.

State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, which has many civilian operations along with defense, said in a statement the agreement was reached in a video call with Group 42, which deals in artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

The partnership focuses on the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors and lasers, it said.

“We are proud to join with Group 42 from the United Arab Emirates and be a harbinger of future joint activities between the two countries,” Yoav Turgeman, CEO of IAI subsidiary Elta, said in a statement.

Israel’s state-owned Rafael, which has been implementing advanced technologies to fight COVID-19, also partnered with Group 42, a spokesman said.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen

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