Official representatives of nine countries, including Israel, conducted a joint video conference to discuss how to best combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The countries all agreed on collaborating to purchase vital medical supplies and equipment.
This was the second such video conference, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 9th spoke with European leaders from Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus and Croatia. That call, too, focused on how Israel and its European allies could better cooperate to end the threat of COVID-19.
Senior officials from each country’s security and health sectors also participated in both discussions.
Each country presented an update regarding the current situation, the policies they have implemented, and their progress.
The various participating countries expressed strong interest in the way in which Israel is handling the crisis. The participants were especially interested in the work of Israel’s “national operations room” that coordinates the Jewish state’s efforts during this challenging time.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz admitted that it was Netanyahu who “shocked” him into taking the situation seriously and implementing strict measures in his own country. “Netanyahu told me, ‘You underestimate this in Europe… Wake up and take action,’” Kurz said in an interview with the German newspaper Bild.
The leaders collectively reached a consensus identifying the coronavirus as a mutual enemy of all countries and that defeating it requires thinking “outside of the box.” They promised to continue their cooperation in fighting the pandemic.
Even in Arab countries that have no official relations with the Jewish state, citizens responding to Arabic-language social media posts from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs were rooting for Israel to develop a vaccine for the good of all.