Minister of Energy and Water Silvan Shalom (Likud) will travel on Friday to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend a conference on renewable energy, a spokesman said, according to AFP.
Shalom will head a delegation to the International Renewable Energy Agency's conference in Abu Dhabi, the spokesman said.
The conference is due to open Saturday and the minister returns home on Monday, he added.
Shalom’s visit marks the first time a high-ranking Israeli delegation will be in the UAE since January 2010, when senior Hamas terrorist Mahmud al-Mabhouh was found dead in a Dubai hotel room. Mabhouh’s death was widely blamed on Israel's Mossad spy agency, which never confirmed or denied involvement.
Mabhouh’s death in Dubai made headlines again two years ago when a French-Israeli filmmaker announced he is producing a spy thriller loosely based on 2010 the assassination and starring Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli.
Mabhouh’s relatives said they will seek to block the release of the movie. His cousin, Ahmed, claimed the Israeli movie is a “Zionist conspiracy” to defame his cousin.
AFP noted that Shalom’s visit to the UAE comes as Israel has quietly been seeking the alliance of Gulf monarchies, which like the Jewish state are concerned over Iran's rising regional power.
Recent reports in Iran indicated that Israel has been getting closer to Saudi Arabia, with one claiming that a Saudi Arabian delegation flew to Israel in December for meetings with high-ranking Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
A recent report in the British Sunday Times claimed that Israel and Saudi Arabia may team up to fight Iran if talks between Iran and the West fail to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
Saudi Arabia later denied the report, clarifying it "has no relations or contacts with Israel of any kind or at any level.”