Intelligence Minister: We're confident rapprochement with Arab world will grow

Watch: Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen speaks to i24NEWS.

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Eli Cohen
Eli Cohen
Aviv Hertz/TPS

Israel is confident that its rapprochement with the Arab world will grow in strength even as the prospects of a peaceful resolution with the Palestinian Arabs appear more remote than ever, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told i24NEWS on Thursday.

Cohen, who served as the Economy and Industry Minister in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's previous government, said that many Arab states, including the resources-rich kingdoms in the Persian Gulf, are looking up to Israel's proven leadership and innovation in the field of high-tech.

"We should be aware that the importance of oil and gas is decreasing, whereas the importance of technology is on the rise," he said. "Therefore, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and others are interested in cooperation with Israel, it's a matter of mutual interest."

Cohen clarified that Israel intends to go forth with its plan of applying its sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria amid a global pandemic to make use of the time window before the general election in the United States, after which it cannot be certain of Washington's backing for the plan.

Commenting on the controversial Shin Bet mass surveillance program, Minister Cohen explained that while Israel was working to develop a less intrusive system of digital monitoring, the tracker was "saving hundreds of lives."