Israel Donates Thousands of Vaccines to Sworn Enemies

Israel Donates Thousands of Vaccines to Sworn Enemies

Rowen Vincent, Writer

On March 1st, Israel donated thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to its sworn enemy, Palestine, and many other nations across several continents, demonstrating that the world must emerge united out of this pandemic.  

Israel currently leads the world in COVID vaccinations, having vaccinated roughly 56% of their population. They have more than enough vaccines to distribute, having bought a lot very early on. It wasn’t so much of a simple decision as it may seem though- Israelis and Palestinians have a fog of distrust and disgust between each other, making it very difficult, politically, to get anything done or make any progress. Both Israelis and Palestinians refuse to acknowledge each other’s right to exist, and the international community still debates which one is actually a country. But as more nations start to recognize Israel, the government began realizing they should put their vaccines to use.

Guatemala, for example, had previously not recognized Israel as a sovereign state. But, Israel is considered a world player in economy, military, and technology, so they built an embassy in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. This gesture was taken as a gesture of future friendship, and so Guatemala was among the first nations to receive donated Pfizer vaccines from Israel. Honduras, Hungary, and the Czech Republic were next, and there are plans in progress to donate to several Asian nations. Israel refused to give vaccines to nations who are on their enemy list, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Iran, and Palestine, to name just a few. But after Israeli politicians who support peace between the Jewish state and Muslim nations worked tirelessly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave in and began distributing vaccines to the Gaza Strip, a mostly Palestinian territory. He said he gave a “limited quantity”, which ended up being over 5,000 vaccines, and many hope there will be more. 

But not without opposition. Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Ganz strongly opposes giving vaccines to a sworn enemy. He said it could only be justified during an “urgent security, diplomatic, or medical need”. High ranking members of the Knesset, (Israeli Senate), shot right back saying it was in fact an urgent medical need, being a worldwide pandemic. 

All we can hope is that more nations who can will reach out to their adversaries and we can emerge as a more united, global-thinking society.