While Ignoring Gaza, Israel to Help Jews Worldwide in Fight against COVID-19

Gaza on high alert following medical reports of the first coronavirus patients in the besieged Strip. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Israel’s new ‘Diaspora Affairs’ Minister, Omer Yankelevich, pledged to help Jews all over the world in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time that Israel still refuses to help besieged Gazans in their desperate fight against the deadly disease.

Vowing “unconditional commitment” to helping Jewish communities around the world, Yankelevich said “There is no place for divisiveness in our Jewish world today.”

“We need to work together in mutual respect and understanding for the good of our Jewish world,” she said during an online video conference which brought together officials from the Diaspora Affairs Ministry and members of the Jewish Agency, headed by Isaac Herzog, the Israeli Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.

It is unclear how Israel plans to provide direct assistance to Jewish communities around the world in their fight against the coronavirus, considering the centralized strategies that are offered by the world’s governments to their citizens.

For his part, Herzog was delighted by the announcement. In his comments, at the conference, he declared that it was “the first time in the history of the State of Israel, we established a formal forum to assist Jewish communities around the world.”

Herzog described the Israeli government’s decision as a paradigm shift, the Israeli paper reported. 

Meanwhile, the besieged Gaza Strip has reported a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent days. with limited resources to combat the disease.

The Israeli siege and successive wars on Gaza have destroyed much of the Strip’s infrastructures, leaving the impoverished region with a dilapidated healthcare system. 

Despite Palestinian and international calls on Israel to allow for medical aid to reach Palestinians in the Strip, Israeli officials insisted that no aid would be allowed without Palestinian political concessions.

Last month, then Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett suggested that Israel will condition any assistance to Gaza on the release of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers believed to be held by Resistance factions.

“The moment there is talk of the humanitarian world in Gaza – Israel also has humanitarian needs, which are mainly the recovery of the fallen,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Bennett as saying.

“I think that we need to enter a broad dialogue about Gaza’s and our humanitarian needs,” Bennett added. “It would not be right to disconnect these things.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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