Moshe Arbel
Moshe ArbelYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

For the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel, a haredi minister spoke at the UN General Assembly: Interior and Health Minister Moshe Arbel (Shas), who gave a speech before the Assembly on Wednesday evening.

Before the speech, Minister Arbel, together with Moroccan Health Minister Prof. Khaled Ait Taleb, submitted a joint statement of the two countries on the issue of prevention, treatment and dealing with pandemics.

"The COVID-19 epidemic shocked the world, disrupted economies, damaged the livelihood of many, undermined family ties, and created many challenges in the education system. The pandemic severely shook the health systems in many countries, led to loss of life as well as long-term health problems that we are still studying," Arbel said in his speech.

"The international community has identified two essential key actions at this stage: A reform of international health regulations, and the formulation of an international tool for preparedness and response to a pandemic. The State of Israel strongly supports these efforts, and is proud to be a partner in submitting the declaration together with the Kingdom of Morocco."

He added, "For 75 years now, we have been committed to promoting physical and mental health and well-being. But for too long, mental health has not received the attention it deserves, and has not received the necessary resources. Now that the importance of mental health has been recognized, among other things, as the lessons of the pandemic, we must ensure the allocation of adequate resources and funding."