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Kushner using Saudi funds to invest in Israeli start-ups

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump arrive at the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology shortly before its inauguration in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.[MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump arrive at the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology shortly before its inauguration in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.[MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]

Jared Kushner, the senior adviser and son-in-law to former US President Donald Trump, is planning to invest millions of dollars of Saudi money in Israeli start-ups, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report.

The investment will be made through his private equity firm Affinity Partners, which has raised more than $2 billion from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and officials agreed that the funds could be given to Israeli firms.

The report said the investment is "the 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."

It has not yet been specified which Israeli businesses the firm would be working with, nor how much money will be directed toward Israel.

"If we can get Israelis and Muslims in the region to do business together it will focus people on shared interests and shared values," Kushner told the WSJ.

"We kicked off historic regional change which needs to be reinforced and nurtured to achieve its potential."

READ: Kushner nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Kushner was instrumental in bringing the so-called Abraham Accords to fruition. In September 2020, the UAE and Israel signed a US-sponsored deal to normalise relations. Since then, the two countries have signed dozens of bilateral agreements in various fields, including investment, banking services and tourism.

Three other Arab states – BahrainMorocco and Sudan – joined the UAE in the controversial move.

The investment towards Israeli start-ups comes after Bin Salman said in March that the kingdom was viewing Israel as a "potential ally".

"We don't look at Israel as an enemy, we look to them as a potential ally, with many interests that we can pursue together. But we have to solve some issues before we get to that," Bin Salman told the Atlantic.

Asked about the possibility of the kingdom following the UAE's steps in establishing relations with Israel, Bin Salman stressed that each country had its "own freedom to do whatever it sees fit to its government and people."

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Asia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUS
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