Israel, UAE launch partnership to fight coronavirus

"This will be a blessing to many in our region."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an Israel Air Force pilots’ course graduation ceremony (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an Israel Air Force pilots’ course graduation ceremony
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Israeli research companies and private companies from the United Arab Emirates will work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at an Israel Air Force pilots’ course graduation ceremony on Thursday.
The partnership comes less than a week before the earliest date for the government to possibly apply sovereignty in parts of the West Bank, and after Emirates officials warned doing so will hurt steps towards normalization between the countries.
Netanyahu said at the ceremony that “the Health Ministers of the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel will announce cooperation in the fight against coronavirus.
“This cooperation will be in research and technology development, in areas that will improve the health security of the entire region,” he said.
Newly-appointed Director-Genereal of the Health Ministry Chezy Levy said of the decision that "this scientific and medical cooperation bridges historic political challenges in the region through the reality of the human priority to find a solution to the coronavirus." 
"The collaboration will improve and strengthen the immunity of the regions' residents. In a reality where the pandemic is attacking and hurting so many countries around the world, it is imperative to find solutions to maintain health at the highest priority in order to find a solution to the pandemic in dimensions that the world has not yet known," Levy said.

Netanyahu said the partnership is a result of continued, intensive negotiations in recent months.
“This will bring a blessing to many in our region,” he added.
Last month, The Jerusalem Post reported that three Gulf States had expressed interest in cooperating with Israel on combatting coronavirus.
Bahrain and another Gulf state reached out to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, expressing interest in the hospital's response to the pandemic.
In addition, UAE Ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh said in a webinar hosted by the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Insider that Israeli scientific research on treatment for COVID-19 is “very exciting” and said there is “potentially room for cooperation here.”
“I think public health space should be an unpoliticized space where we all try to pool our collective knowledge of this virus to improve the lives of many people around the world," she stated.
Last week, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan tweeted that he assured Jordanian King Abdullah “of UAE’s…categorical rejection of accepting Israel’s illegal annexation of Palestinian lands.”
The UAE’s Ambassador to the US Yousef al Otaiba also warned against Israel applying sovereignty in the West Bank in an op-ed in Hebrew in Yediot Aharonot.