Israel’s coronavirus response earns international acclaim

According to the Foreign Ministry, Israel’s coronavirus response has earned accolades from media around the world, boosting the Jewish state’s international reputation.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been praised by media outlets around the world, says a report by the Foreign Ministry, earning the Jewish state good publicity on a global scale. The report is based on hundreds of analyses compiled by Israeli embassies across the world over the last few weeks.

At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in January 2020, “Israel made tough decisions: cancelling flights, closing borders and repatriating foreign nationals, and using mobile phone tracking technologies usually used by the Israeli security services in the fight against terrorism,” says the report. Some media outlets initially felt that Israel’s hard-line policies were an overreaction.

However, once the pandemic spread throughout the Western world, international media began praising Israel’s approach. “In the later phase, Israel became a model for a country that is able to cope with the medical crisis precisely for the same reasons it was criticized before,” says the report. Israel was also praised for its efforts in repatriating its citizens from abroad via rescue flights.

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The report states that since most international media are focused on the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been reduced significantly, which benefits Israel’s international reputation. Images of interfaith cooperation, such as the viral photo of Muslim and Orthodox Jewish medics praying side by side, have helped boost international perceptions of Israel.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said to Israel Hayom, “The coronavirus crisis has created an opportunity for the State of Israel to present our tremendous contribution to science and innovation in the world.”

“In terms of media representation, the coronavirus pandemic has been good to Israel,” said Noam Katz, Deputy Director of Public Diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry. “International discourse has moved to digital media, where Israel operates no less than 850 channels in different languages, so we had a comfortable starting point. Secondly, the coronavirus has allowed the discourse to focus on Israel’s benefits, both in science and high-tech and in inter-religious relations.”

The Foreign Ministry’s report comes on the heels of rare praise for Israel from the United Nations. During a briefing, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov applauded “the excellent coordination and cooperation that has been established with all Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors,” adding that “Israeli and Palestinian authorities continue to coordinate their responses closely and constructively, a major factor in the containment achieved so far.”

On Twitter, Mladenov’s deputy, Jamie McGoldrick, wrote “I commend the Palestinian and Israeli authorities for their efforts to deal with COVID19 and for the exemplary levels of collaboration. Their close coordination and prompt actions will save lives.”

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