Hend Al Otaiba, director of strategic communications at the UAE Foreign Ministry, said the agreement was made “in light of strengthening international cooperation in the fields of research, development and technology in service of humanity”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the partnership will “improve the health security of the entire region” and will “bring a blessing to many”. The names of the companies have not been published.
Director General of Israel’s Health Ministry, Hezi Levy, added that “scientific and medical cooperation bridges historic political challenges in the region through the reality of the human priority to find a solution to the coronavirus”.
He said: “The collaboration will improve and strengthen the immunity of the region’s residents. In a reality where the pandemic is attacking and hurting so many countries around the world, it is imperative to find solutions to maintain health at the highest priority in order to find a solution to the pandemic in dimensions that the world has not yet known”.
Last week, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said that despite political differences, the UAE could work with Israel to combat coronavirus.
The UAE’s Etihad Airways landed its first ever direct commercial flight from Abu Dhabi to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport in May, carrying medical supplies for the Palestinians including personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. The Palestinian Authority (PA) refused to accept the 16 tonnes of coronavirus aid, with PA sources stating it would not be used as a “tool for normalisation” between the countries.
The flight struck a rare moment of public cooperation between the UAE and Israel. The UAE has no formal diplomatic ties to Israel, but the nations have begun to increasingly cooperate openly after years of rumoured back-channel discussions between them over the mutual enmity of Iran.
A second planeload of medical supplies was sent from the UAE in June and was again refused by the PA.