A poorly kept secret has been quietly breaking legal and customary norms throughout the Middle East’s economy. Israeli products are everywhere, albeit disguised. In one instance, an Israeli business knowingly sold internet surveillance and monitoring equipment to Iran, which is prohibited under Israeli sanctions, and shipped their product to Denmark, where it underwent repackaging to hide its Israeli identity. An official at an Israeli high-tech company explained the motivations for dealing with countries with barred relationships with Israel, even at high risk and cost: “Our foreign competitors deal freely with Arab countries, so they can lower their prices in Europe – and this is really annoying. It’s worth entering these markets to narrow the gap even slightly.” Modern technology, especially the internet, has made these shunned relationships surprisingly easy.
In addition to Iran, Israeli business extends its hand as far as Indonesia, where it is involved in the supply of electricity, in Saudi Arabia, where it imports and exports petroleum-based products, and even in Dubai’s construction of the Palm Islands. Through it all, the parties involved maintain a low-profile so as to not upset their country’s political sensitivities.