Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor Benjamin Ben-Eliezer is on his way to Doha, the capital of Qatar, as head of the Israeli delegation to the World Economic Forum, Ynet reported Sunday.
Ben-Eliezer is expected to try to persuade his counterparts in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to take advantage of Israeli technologies to overcome obstacles and thaw relations between Israel and its neighbors. This is the first visit by an Israeli minister since the assassination of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. The Islamist group has claimed that Israel's Mossad was behind the hit.
The Forum will focus on regional and international cooperation, as well as on ways to increase growth rates following the global economic meltdown. Ben-Eliezer will present ways to incorporate Israel in the efforts to improve the world's economy.
Before leaving for Qatar, the minister said his participation in the Forum will help solidify Israel's status as an important country in the region, this just a few days after the Jewish state officially joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
"I hope to convince my peers from the Middle East and the Gulf states to make use of Israel's capabilities - particularly in the advanced technology field – and its sound economic situation to break barriers and thaw relations between Israel and its neighbors," said Ben-Eliezer.
While in Qatar, the minister will meet with CEOs of leading global companies and urge them to trade and invest in the region.
The last cabinet member to visit the Persian Gulf was Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, who attended a renewable energy conference in Abu Dhabi last January.