Jonathan Zadka, Israel’s Deputy Ambassador in Beijing Photo: Courtesy of the Embassy of Israel in Beijing

Amid the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in the Middle East, Israel is closely collaborating with Palestinian authorities to curb the further spread of the virus. Israel is trying to assist the Palestinian authority by providing medical supplies, including thousands of test kits for coronavirus and protective suits as well as organizing workshops for Palestinian medical teams, said Israel’s deputy ambassador in Beijing.  

Jonathan Zadka told the Global Times in an exclusive interview that they do count on the support of the Chinese government to share their experience in containing the virus and facilitating channels for acquisition of medical supplies from China.

The diplomat said they are also assisting hospitals and clinics in Palestine to receive coronavirus patients and distribute relevant information materials to the public. 

“The ongoing situation is not common. But I think this is a very good example of neighborly conduct, especially in times of crisis,” Zadka said. The deputy ambassador noted that the commercial crossing to Gaza remains open for the transfer of goods and assistance. 

Over the two weeks, 351 tons of medical supplies and 145,000 tons of goods, including almost 80,000 tons of building materials have entered Gaza, he said. 

“I assume that Israel and the Palestinian authority would continue to collaborate in this manner,” said the diplomat. 

Israel has reported close to 7,000 coronavirus cases and the country now faces a shortage of medical supplies, including protective gear, ventilators and disinfectants.  

The vice ambassador said it’s hard to predict a turning point at the current stage as infection cases continue to rise. 

The diplomat told the Global Times that many people in China have reached out and conveyed their sympathy and concern to what’s happening in Israel. The country is also planning to buy more protective gear and other medical supplies from China.

 “At the same time, we do count on the support of the Chinese government to share its experience [in combating the COVID-19] and facilitate channels for acquisition of relevant protective gear,” he said. 

According to the vice ambassador, despite differences between the two countries, Israel definitely adopts some of China’s measures and try to count on China’s experience in treating coronavirus patients. 

“The health officials in Israel follow very closely the situation in China and try to gain as much information as possible that could assist in the control of the epidemic in Israel,” Zadka said.

“We have been very lucky to have good friends in China who have donated a lot of equipment to Israel, some of it from the Jack Ma Foundation.”

Zadka told the Global Times that he has seen the “amazing efforts and the great commitment both by the Chinese government and the Chinese people to contain the spread of the virus.” 

“It is very remarkable to see the results. And the rapid change, especially in Beijing and the speed for it to return to normal life is quite amazing,” he said.