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Israel’s Systematically Sidelined, Budget-slashed Foreign Ministry Is Doing Heroic Work on Coronavirus

15 28 0

Thousands of Israeli families recently heaved a sigh of relief: their loved ones, traveling abroad, have been repatriated, thanks to combined efforts led by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Israelis heeded the calls of envoys worldwide to leave at once before curfews and lockdowns go into effect and outgoing flights are cancelled.

Israeli representatives the world over have moved heaven and earth to allow Israeli citizens to return home. Unusual methods, such as leasing ferries, police-escorted bus convoys and convincing authorities to open shuttered airports have became new emergency tools of the trade for Israel’s diplomats. The ministry’s "Situation Room" in Jerusalem has become an operations hub.

Very few foreign ministries (if any) are so intensely committed to their citizens abroad. Our foreign ministry is proudly embracing the Israeli values of mutual responsibility and protection. In tandem, the foreign ministry continues to engage in other aspects of the national effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Both Jerusalem and missions abroad and the MFA’s Jerusalem Headquarters are part of the effort to locate vital medical equipment needed in Israel. The foreign ministry is actively involved in Israel’s massive procurement endeavor, using its diplomatic skills to facilitate the airlift of essential goods to Israel. From respirators to antibacterial gel, from protective gear to overalls, from face masks to raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. No stone is left unturned. Some embassies are also facilitating scientific cooperation in fighting the pandemic.

The essential role of the foreign ministry in emergencies is not new. One of my earliest memories of working there was its massive........

© Haaretz