Alice Green | Aug 6, 2022 | 3
Jared Kushner Facilitates First-Ever Saudi Investment in Israel
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund this week invested $2 billion with Affinity Partners, a private-equity firm established by Jared Kushner that will assist Israeli startups. The pledge is being celebrated as the kingdom’s first investment in Israel and marks a softening of relations between nations that have long disputed over the issue of Palestinian independence.
Kushner, a son-in-law of former President Donald Trump who acted as a key White House advisor during his presidency, has worked for years to improve relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Kushner played a major role in negotiating the Abraham Accords, a 2020 deal that normalized relations between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. The treaty was the first public normalization of relations between Israel and any Arab nation since that of Jordan in 1994.
Kushner has also been celebrated for establishing a strong relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the $600 billion sovereign wealth fund. Prince Mohammed met with then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2020 and may have joined the Abraham Accords if not for the inconvenience of administration changes in the US and 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,” said Kushner. “We kicked off historic regional change which needs to be reinforced and nurtured to achieve its potential.”
In March, Kushner traveled to Israel and met with dozens of companies from a variety of sectors seeking financial support from Affinity. Kushner did not provide specifics regarding the Israeli companies selected to receive Saudi funds nor how much money they would be getting, but Prince Mohammed has hinted at Israel’s participation in the development of Neom (a futuristic city-state being built in the Tabuk Province).
Affinity is also seeking to improve relations between Israel and Indonesia, another nation that has long refused to establish diplomatic ties with Jerusalem.
“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,” said Kushner.
Earlier this year, Kushner announced plans to open an office in Israel to promote financial relationships with India, Gulf states, and North Africa.