Israeli news channel now screening in UAE homes
Emiratis can now watch Israeli TV from their homes after local a telecoms giant added two Israeli news channels to its basic TV subscriptions.
Etisalat announced this week that it will screen the Arabic and English-language channels of i24NEWS on its Switch TV and eLIFE packages, at no additional cost, making it the first Israeli broadcaster to screen in the UAE.
Founded in Israel in 2013, i24NEWS media network has attempted to reach global audiences through its English, Arabic and French-language channels.
Frank Melloul, founder and CEO of i24NEWS, welcomed the opportunity to screen content in the Gulf state and praised September's Israel-UAE normalisation agreement for making the deal possible.
"Thanks to the changes in the region, news teams in the Middle East will be able to cover events from a variety of angles, and at i24NEWS we take pride in being the first to provide this full picture to viewers worldwide, and now in the UAE," said Melloul, according to broadbandTVnews.com and Israeli media.
"As we keep developing our content to our loyal audience, we continuously reach new viewers and increase our distribution. We thank Etisalat for a ground-breaking move, which is an expression of the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates."
The UAE unblocked Israel's +972 country code in August, allowing calls between the two countries after a surprise normalisation agreement was announced earlier that month.
The first ever commercial passenger flight between the UAE and Israel took off in October with thousands of Israeli tourists visiting Dubai since then. The deal has also been a boon for businesses in both countries, looking to reach new markets, particularly in tourism.
Abu Dhabi Media and i24NEWS have also signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the two broadcasters to share reporting and archival content.
Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have also agreed to normalise relations with Israel.
The UAE has been accused of using Israeli spyware to snoop on dozens of dissidents and journalists.
Israeli TV dramas have also been accused of using racist and derogatory stereotypes when profiling Arabs and Muslims.