Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is leading a whopping $2 billion investment in Israel through his private-equity fund Affinity Partners. The more striking element of the deal is, however, is the fact that most of these funds were raised in Saudi Arabia, whose relations with israel has remained testy or worse over the last several decades.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Affinity Partners raised more than $2 billion of its $3 billion investment war chest from Saudi Arabia. The report also said Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman has give the go-ahead for the large cache of Saudi money to be invested in Israel.
Investment in Israeli Tech Firms
Most of the investment by Affinity Partners will be made in Israeli hi-tech firms.
The mega investment will be "first known instance that the Saudi Public Investment Fund's cash will be directed to Israel, a sign of the kingdom's increasing willingness to do business with the country, even though they have no diplomatic relations," the Journal reported.
Kushner, a Jew, was instrumental i brokering a historic normalisation deal between Israel and some of the Muslim nations in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the presidency of Donald Trump.
"If we can get Israelis and Muslims in the region to do business together it will focus people on shared interests and shared values ...We kicked off historic regional change which needs to be reinforced and nurtured to achieve its potential," Kushner told the WSJ.
Warming of Ties
The huge investment in Israeli start-ups will signal greater cooperation between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors with whom Tel Aviv has had adversarial relations. Though Saudi Arabia did not sign the Abraham Accords of 2020, which was worked out with the help of Kushner in his capacity as the White House advisor, the new level cooperation will eventually lead to a greater level of normalisation.
it has also been reported that Saudi Arabia has decided not to exclude Israel from a list of nations in which it would make investments using its $600 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Kushner reportedly drove home the idea in Riyadh that not investing in Israel will lead to the Kingdom losing out in many ways. A warming of relations with Israel will also give Saudi Arabia diplomatic advantages. "The more that we can create business ties and introduce the innovators from the region to each other the more we strengthen people who want to take this new path while weakening those stuck in the old paradigm,' Kushner said.
Affinity Partners is looking at raising funds from Indonesia as well, for future investment in Israel, according to Kushner. Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation.