Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former US President Donald Trump, has set up a $3 billion private equity fund to invest in Israeli companies, which includes $2 billion raised from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, “The Wall Street Journal” reports. The investment reflects the warming of informal relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, although this will not be the first time that Saudi Arabia has invested in Israeli companies. The Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund also invested in the private equity fund of former US Secretary of State for the Treasury Steve Mnuchin – a fund that has invested in Israeli startups operating in the US like Zimperium and Cybereason, which have agreements with the US Ministry of Defense. According to “The Wall Street Journal,” Kushner’s Affinity Partners private equity fund has already chosen two Israeli companies to invest in.
While Mnuchin’s fund has invested in Israeli companies through their US subsidiaries, Kushner’s fund is expected to go one step further and invest Saudi money directly in Israeli companies – a symbolic measure that demonstrates the readiness of Saudi Arabia to be a part of the Israeli economy.
Mnuchin and Kushner were recently joined by another senior figure in the former Trump administration, Jason Greenblatt who was the advisor on Middle East matters. Greenblatt has set up a fund with Danny Ayalon and Uri Gutman to invest in Israeli blockchain companies. Interviewed by “Globes” last month, Greenblatt said that the source of the fund’s capital was from Gulf countries as well as investors from the US, Europe and Korea.
Kushner, a close confidante of Donald Trump during his term as president, was one of the architects of the Abraham Accords, which were signed between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain in September 2020 with the quiet consent of Saudi Arabia. Kushner nurtured relations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and after resigning from the White House has continued to promote business in Saudi Arabia.
Personal approval from the Crown prince for each investment
According to “The Wall Street Journal,” Kushner is also likely to serve as a mediator for deals between Israeli and Saudi companies not necessarily related to the investment fund. Kushner reportedly warned the Saudis that they could lose out on the ‘Silicon Valley of the Middle East’ to those countries which signed the Abraham Accords. Bin Salman reportedly approved the allocation of $2 billion out of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund’s $600 billion but made any investments in Israeli companies contingent on his personal approval.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on May 7, 2022.
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