Companies in Israel and UAE to fight coronavirus

Companies in the United Arab Emirates and Israel to join forces to research and develop technology to fight COVID-19.

Elad Benari ,

Coronavirus test
Coronavirus test

Companies in the United Arab Emirates and Israel will join forces to research and develop technology to fight the novel coronavirus, the two countries said Thursday, according to AFP.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu broke the news of an impending collaboration between the Jewish state and the Arab Gulf country, following "prolonged and intense contacts".

"This collaboration will be in the areas of research and development and technology, in areas that will improve health security throughout the region," Netanyahu said in a statement.

Hours later the Emirati state news agency WAM confirmed the plan.

"Two private companies in the UAE sign(ed) an agreement with two companies in Israel to develop research and technology to fight COVID-19," WAM said.

"This scientific and medical agreement forms part of constructive cooperation aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the health of the region's peoples,” it continued.

"As a result of the pandemic's spread worldwide, it is imperative to place the protection of humanity at the forefront of global action to overcome this unprecedented crisis," WAM added.

Prof. Hezi Levi, Director-General of the Ministry of Health, also confirmed on Thursday night that companies from the private sector in the UAE will sign agreements with Israeli companies to develop the research and technology related to the fight against the coronavirus.

"Because of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the world and in the wake of the effects of the pandemic on all countries of the world, it is necessary to act resolutely and quickly to respond to the pandemic for the benefit of humanity," said Levy. “In the wake of this, private companies from the United Arab Emirates and Israel have announced a number of collaborations in the field of medicine and the fight against the coronavirus.”

The names of the companies were not immediately revealed and there were few other details.

Hind al-Otaiba, director of strategic communications at the UAE foreign ministry, likewise reported that an agreement had been signed by firms in Israel and the UAE to develop research and technology to fight the virus.

The UAE and Israel have no official diplomatic ties, with Jordan and Egypt being the only two Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel.

Arab states in the Gulf, including the UAE, have increasingly built informal ties with Israel in recent years amid shared concerns over Iran.

Earlier this month, a flight undertaken by Etihad Airways -- the UAE's flag carrier -- laden with COVID-19 related medical supplies for the Palestinian Authority made a rare landing in Tel Aviv.

The PA, however, refused the medical supplies since the delivery was coordinated with Israel rather than with them. This marked the second airborne delivery of humanitarian cargo by the UAE that the Palestinian Arabs say they have turned down in a month.

While the UAE has been critical of Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, its Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Mohammed Gargash, said last week that "I think we can have a political disagreement with Israel and try to bridge other differences.”