Britain’s Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, visited Israel this week to see how Israel’s success in reopening after Covid lockdown can be emulated in the UK as well as agreeing to boost the post-Brexit free trade agreement.
Accompanied by deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam, Gove met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein in a fact-finding mission, including plans for a travel corridor between the two countries.
At a meeting with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday morning, the ministers also discussed bilateral and regional issues, with the main issue being Iran’s malign activity. Foreign Minister Ashkenazi asked Minister Gove to convey Israel’s appreciation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s clear statement expressing his unequivocal opposition to the ICC’s decision to open an investigation against Israel.
Regarding Israel’s “Green Passport” scheme, which lifts restrictions on those who can prove immunity, Mr Ashkenazi said the UK and Israel planned to work together to recognise each other’s vaccination certificates, and to allow tourists and businesspeople to travel between the countries.
According to a statement by the Israeli PM’s office, Netanyahu and Gove discussed “the option of increasing cooperation in the research, development and manufacturing of vaccines against the coronavirus and future viruses.”
The statement quoted Gove, a staunch supporter of Israel, as hailing Israel’s “big success” in the vaccination of its population and saying Britain wanted to learn from Israel’s experience in reopening the economy.
PM Netanyahu met today with British Cabinet Minister @michaelgove; discussed mutual recognition of the 'Green Passport' as well as the possibility of increasing cooperation in the research, development and production of vaccines against the coronavirus and against future viruses. pic.twitter.com/uBxCShyZsb
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 20, 2021
Gove also met Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and other senior Health Ministry officials, Hebrew media reported.
They discussed the travel corridor plan and additional cooperation on the pandemic response.
“The global battle against the coronavirus necessitates bilateral cooperations,” said Edelstein. “Israel and Britain have excellent cooperation on health. The continued cooperation will help create better health and economy.”
Coinciding with the visit, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, spoke to Newsnight about the potential travel corridor and Israel’s success and reopening after lockdown.
We hope to welcome tourists to #Israel🇮🇱 in the near future!
Watch here 👇 pic.twitter.com/MXZ7lmaxCG
— Tzipi Hotovely (@TzipiHotovely) April 21, 2021
Netanyahu and Gove agreed to promote the upgrading of the countries’ free trade agreement, the statement said.
We call upon the UK Government to officially recognise Jerusalem is Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem.
FREE COPY: Understanding the threat from Iran
Covering the threat from Iran to Israel and the West, plus the plight of the Iranian people: Read our Operation Mordecai campaign booklet online or receive a FREE copy by post.