Israel is willing to share its “extensive research and findings on various aspects of dealing with the Coronavirus challenges” with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Minister of Science and Technology Izhar Shai said as he invited the Arab country to join forces in combating the pandemic.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash, in a historic appearance by a senior Arab official before a Jewish organization, addressed the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Virtual Global Forum on Tuesday and said that while “the pandemic will not change the fundamentals of regional politics,” the experience of cooperation among nations dealing with the pandemic opens opportunities to de-escalate tensions and resolve conflicts through diplomacy.
An Etihad Airways cargo plane landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel earlier this month after a direct flight from Abu Dhabi with humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the second time in recorded history that such a flight has taken place.
A similar flight took place in May, but this time, the plane was carrying the company’s official insignia and did not attempt to conceal its presence.
“We have no relationship with Israel, but the pandemic is an area where we have to cooperate together because it affects human beings,” he said.
Responding to the statements, Izhar published an open letter addressed to Gargash, in which he wrote that “for too many years we have been focusing on the issues that divide us, instead of dealing with the challenges and opportunities that can unite us.”
“COVID-19 has reminded all of us once again that after all, this is indeed a small flat world, that science knows no boundaries, and that technological innovation is a common interest that we all share,” he noted.
Gargash’s “wise words carry hope for a better future, and it is our responsibility to turn this vision into reality,” Izhar said in the missive.
He invited his UAE counterpart to “further explore this path for cooperation,” and “know that you have a partner here in Israel.”
The Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology “will be happy to share its extensive research and findings on various aspects of dealing with the Coronavirus challenges,” Izhar wrote.
“In many aspects, Israel is positioned at the front of research and innovation in finding practical solutions for this pandemic, and we realize that our experience here could benefit billions of people around the world,” he concluded.
Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations.
However, Israel’s ties with several Arab countries have significantly advanced in recent years, openly and covertly, as shared strategic interests, and primarily confronting Iran’s advent in the region, have brought both sides to the same table.