Indonesian delegation in Israel to study COVID-19 response

Contacts between Israel and Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, have been ongoing, especially since the Trump administration tried to convince Jakarta to normalize ties.

 Indonesia's flag (illustrative). (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Indonesia's flag (illustrative).
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

As normalization talks between Jerusalem and Jakarta continue, a delegation from Indonesia visited Israel in recent days to learn about its COVID-19 response.

The delegation included Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management and National COVID Task Force head Suharyanto. The visit was first reported by Army Radio.

In October 2020, New York-based businessman Joey Allaham and Indonesian Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan donated 15,000 units of Taffix, the Israeli-made anti-COVID-19 nasal spray, to Indonesian healthcare workers and military personnel.

Last year, two Indonesian hospitals were in talks with Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer to work in several areas, including cardiology, pediatrics and infectious diseases.

Contacts between Israel and Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, have been ongoing, especially since the US Trump administration tried to convince Jakarta to normalize ties in December 2020.

 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz, at the State Department in Washington, US, June 3, 2021. (credit: JACQUELYN MARTIN / POOL / REUTERS) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz, at the State Department in Washington, US, June 3, 2021. (credit: JACQUELYN MARTIN / POOL / REUTERS)

Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought the topic up with his counterpart in Jakarta.

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto met with National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata at a conference in Manama last November, and he was seen speaking with Israel’s chargé d’affaires in Bahrain, Itay Tagner, at the same event. After the photo was published, Subianto issued a statement, saying it was not prohibited for him to speak to Israeli officials when it is in the national interest.

Subianto, who plans to run for president of Indonesia in 2024, views Jerusalem as a stop on the way to better relations with Washington, a source with knowledge of the matter said. He cultivated his relationship with Israel through agriculture and food-security cooperation.