Israeli Investment Fund Hires Former Head of Bahraini Sovereign Wealth Fund
2023-06-22 - 4:06 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The former CEO of Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund has signed on with an Israeli firm that invests in companies in the Middle East and North Africa to expand the footprint of Israeli technologies in the region.
Talal Al-Zain was named chief investment officer of Exigent Capital Group, which has offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The company opened a new office in Manama, Bahrain, earlier this year to lead its GCC expansion. It plans to deploy $500m in middle market companies with a focus on health care, food security, energy, water, and education over the next two years.
Elie Brender, Exigent's CEO, said the company will look to deploy capital in countries outside the Abraham Accords and is also eyeing an office in Saudi Arabia. In a recent LinkedIn post, Brender voiced optimism about Israeli businesses' ability to cement normalization, especially with Bahrain.
"The Abraham Accords are supported by the human and cultural dimensions of the region, and not by the realpolitik of mutual security concerns," he wrote.
Exigent Capital's decision to establish a base in Manama is notable because Dubai has been the preferred location for Israelis looking to do business in the Gulf.
Military ties between Israel and Bahrain have boomed since the accords. Manama has sought training from Israel's Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence services, while Israel has provided the Gulf country with drones and anti-drone systems.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing to expand the accords, with Saudi Arabia as a major prize. However, his efforts have been complicated by his far-right government alliance and rising violence in the occupied West Bank.