Israel is not taking part in the increasing accusations that the World Health Organization has mismanaged the response to the coronavirus pandemic, a government official told The Jerusalem Post.
Asked about US President Donald Trump’s decision to cut funding to the WHO, the official, who deals with Israel’s ties with the organization, said that, “Israel will not take any stance on the matter.”
“We are in the middle of a war against the pandemic, and it is not the time to square up accounts. When it’s over, we’ll learn the lessons” of what went wrong, he said.
The official also noted that Israel is an active member of the WHO, with day-to-day involvement and membership in several committees. The head of Israel’s delegation to the WHO is Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Itamar Grotto.
Trump announced that he would stop US funding to the WHO on Tuesday, while his administration reviewed its "role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus.
"Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death," Trump argued.
The US contributes $400-$500 million annually, while China gives about $40 million, Trump said.
Australia joined Trump in his criticism of the WHO and the UN on Sunday, with its health minister Greg Hunt saying: "What we saw from some officials in Geneva, we think, was a response which didn't help the world."
The WHO operates under the auspices of the UN.
Like Israel, Australia went against WHO advice to ban people arriving from China.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said her country will "absolutely insist" on an independent review of how coronavirus was handled.
"My trust in China is predicated in the long-term," Payne said. "My concern is around transparency and ensuring that we are able to engage openly."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres responded to the US defunding of the WHO, saying: "Once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic, there must be a time to look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly… and how all those involved reacted to the crisis – but now is not that time. It is also not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the WHO."
Reuters contributed to this report.