Three Gulf states have reached out to Israel in recent weeks to receive information and assistance in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. The three make up half of the countries that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Bahrain and another Gulf state reached out to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, expressing interest in the hospital’s response to the pandemic, and the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the United Nations said publicly that her government would be willing to work with Israel on a vaccine.
“I have heard leaders in the Gulf say over and over, ‘with our resources and wealth and Israeli innovation, we can create a vaccine and a cure’…They have seen this pandemic as an opportunity for cooperation between themselves and Israel,” said Rabbi Marc Schneier, who has extensive ties in the Persian Gulf as president of the interfaith dialogue organization Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. “There’s an opportunity to join forces here. So many issues transcend politics in the Middle East.”