Dubai’s Arab Health 2024 attracts Israelis


The El Al flight from Dubai on Thursday night, February 1, after the close of the Arab Health 2024 Exhibition, was filled with Israelis, some of whom were returning from vacation and others who presumably had been at the event, attendees who wanted to see what was going on worldwide in the health science sector. 

Arab Health 2024, with over 110,00 visitors, is the second largest show of its kind in the world after MEDICA which is held annually in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Atid ED Ltd., the company with which both writers of this piece are affiliated, attended the annual event in the framework of our US state trade agency service package, in our role as regional export promotion representatives for the State of Illinois’ Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. It is important to note that we have been traveling to Dubai from Israel regularly since 1999 and have been managing a booth at Arab Health every year since 2006, well before most Israelis were able to access that region.

Arab Health is the Middle East’s biggest healthcare event. Its 2024 edition aimed to build on the billions of dollars in deals that were secured at previous year’s exhibitions. This, the 49th edition of the exhibition, ran from January 29-February 1st at the Dubai World Trade Center. The event, with over 3,450 exhibitors and professional healthcare visitors from 180 countries, featured over 40 international pavilions (including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada) to showcase their latest healthcare products and advancements.

Statistically, the GCC’s healthcare sector is projected to reach $135.5 billion by 2027, according to a 2023 report by advisory firm Alpen Capital, with an annualized growth rate of 5.4% from $104.1 billion in 2022.

It is no wonder then, that Israeli healthcare professionals were eager to be there, even with a war in progress at home. Clearly, they saw the potential business opportunities and wanted to position themselves to take advantage of them at the appropriate time.

People walk past the Israeli display during the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 14, 2021. (credit: REUTERS)

The UAE is Israel’s 20th largest export destination

FOR THE record, Israel’s exports of goods and services to the UAE in 2021, the last year for which current figures are available, were $342 million, making the UAE Israel’s 20th largest export destination. Imports from the UAE that year were $980 million. Of course, those numbers do not take into account the impact of Israeli tourism to the UAE. In 2022 more than 150,000 Israelis visited the UAE 

In addition to the obvious opportunities at the event, it was interesting to watch how it had recovered from COVID-19. EDI Trade Director Seth Vogelman was there in January 2020 when COVID hit the world. The massive Chinese pavilion emptied overnight and suddenly people with various types of surgical masks were walking the show. The event was eventually canceled, to be replaced by an online scaled-down version until the pandemic ebbed.

The year 2024 has seen the return of Arab Health in full force, with large crowds and reports of success from almost everyone who attended. Even though this year was the first time that registrants were charged a daily admission fee (the equivalent of NIS 100 or so), that only seemed to increase the professional quality of the attendees.


Although we were there officially representing Illinois, we made a point of meeting with companies from other states that we also represent in Israel, as well as with the many Israeli companies who had representatives on the floor. 

The Abraham Accords have made it possible, of course, for any Israeli business person who so desires, to travel to Dubai; and the advent of direct flights has made the trip much easier than before. And even amid the war ongoing there did not seem to be any open animosity to Israelis being in Dubai.

For those of us living in Israel, the Arab Health show is just one example of how, in spite of the dramatic challenges Israel is facing since October 7, the world business community remains interested in what we do here and continues to be committed to pursuing business relationships that have potential for mutual profitability. 

There is little doubt that once the current hostilities end, the world will be beating a path to Israel’s door once again. May it be soon.

Sherwin Pomerantz is CEO and Seth Vogelman is the trade director of Atid EDI Ltd., a Jerusalem-based international business development consulting firm which represents the trade and/or foreign direct investment interests of Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Cedar Park (Texas), Washington, DC, and Invest Hong Kong.