IEI chairman: Our generation has a rare chance to create peace

'In our times, economic power relations outweigh diplomacy,’ Adiv Baruch tells the ‘Post’

IEI chairman Adiv Baruch (L) converses with Bahrain's Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Bin Rashid Al Zayani. (R).  (photo credit: Courtesy)
IEI chairman Adiv Baruch (L) converses with Bahrain's Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Bin Rashid Al Zayani. (R).
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A delegation of top-ranking Bahraini officials and business leaders will arrive in Israel on Tuesday for a three-day visit under the leadership of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Bin Rashid Al Zayani. Economy Minister Amir Peretz will greet his Guld counter-part and the 40 members of the arriving delegation.
Organized by the Foreign Ministry, the delegation arrives at the heels of an earlier Israeli one that recently visited the Gulf state.  
“In our times, economic power relations outweigh diplomacy,” IEI chairman Adiv Baruch told The Jerusalem Post. "Israeli exports in 2019 exceeded $114b." Baruch stresses that “Israeli exports get to countries with which we don’t have formal relations.”  
“Our generation was given a rare chance to create peace,” he told the Post. “What will bring peace is the economy; we have a unique chance to change the economic regional structure. COVID-19 doesn’t distinguish between people.
“World leaders realized we must leave behind outdated points of view and join forces with other countries for a better future for all,” he said.
“The term Start-Up Nation had been overused and is now worn out,” he suggested. “What we are is an Innovation-Technology Nation.”
He praised Bahrain for realizing two decades ago that they must prepare themselves for a future which isn’t directly dependent on petroleum – and so began expanding their horizons.
Today the Gulf state is a global financial powerhouse.
He noted the role of Islamic Banks as a unique case of joining together cutting-edge innovation while maintaining significant cultural and religious values.
“Their post-petroleum strategy has been so successful that half the people who live there are expats busy developing the country,” he said.  
Baruch warned that “it is vital to be respectful of their needs and great achievements” and “not to rush off thinking Israelis will be able to find gold in the streets of Bahrain.”
He voiced his strong belief in trust building up, slowly and if needed behind the radar, so that great things could take place later.

“Our deeper interest,” he claimed, “is building long-term relationships in the region. To do that we must be very humble.”  
“The great power of normalization is that it allows Israelis to do more with their Gulf partners than just answer immediate needs via a third party,” he said. “It allows us to build strategic partnerships.”