Jared Kushner to invest Saudi funds in Israeli start-ups - report

People familiar with the fund's investment plan told The Wall Street Journal that the fund has already selected two Israeli firms to invest in.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (L) meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (R) during his visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 1, 2020 (photo credit: SAUDI PRESS AGENCY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (L) meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (R) during his visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 1, 2020
(photo credit: SAUDI PRESS AGENCY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

A new private-equity fund run by Jared Kushner intends to invest millions of dollars raised from Saudi Arabia in Israeli start-ups, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The fund, Affinity Partners, has already raised over $3 billion, including a $2 billion commitment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign-wealth fund.

People familiar with the fund's investment plan told The Wall Street Journal that the fund has already selected two Israeli firms to invest in. The sources added that Saudi officials agreed that the fund could invest in Israeli firms. This would mark the first known instance of money from the Saudi Public Investment Fund being directed to Israel.

Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations, although the Gulf kingdom has shown openness to establishing ties with Israel after a peace agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman stated in March that Israel can become "a potential ally" of Saudi Arabia if the conflict with the Palestinians is resolved, according to Reuters.

According to the report, Kushner and his team warned Saudi officials that they could lose out on access and opportunities in the "Silicon Valley of the Middle East" to states in the region that had joined the Abraham Accords. Saudi Arabia could also open its economy to Israeli businesses via work with Kushner, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

 THEN-US PRESIDENT Donald Trump, flanked by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, meets with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh in 2017. (credit: JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS) THEN-US PRESIDENT Donald Trump, flanked by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, meets with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh in 2017. (credit: JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS)

Kushner has pitched Affinity Partners to other Arab and majority Muslim states, including the UAE, Qatar and Indonesia. Qatar and Indonesia both do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

In April, The New York Times reported that a panel that screens investments for the Saudi Public Investment Fund expressed concerns about the intent to invest $2 billion in Affinity Partners, including "'the inexperience of the Affinity Fund management'; the possibility that the kingdom would be responsible for 'the bulk of the investment and risk'; due diligence on the fledgling firm’s operations that found them 'unsatisfactory in all aspects'; a proposed asset management fee that 'seems excessive'; and 'public relations risks'" from Kushner’s prior role as a senior adviser to former president Donald Trump.