Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump in 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL) Marc Israel Sellem/POOL
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The prime minister praised Israel for its readiness to contain and combat the coronavirus.

By United with Israel Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his ministerial team on Sunday to discuss Israel’s readiness in containing and combating the coronavirus, after which he held a press conference lauded the “extraordinary cooperation” between the US and Israel to thwart the viruses spread.

Netanyahu spoke with US Vice President Pence hours before meeting with ministers in his cabinet and thanked President Donald Trump and Pence “for their extraordinary cooperation with Israel” during the Sunday night press conference.

He said the “finest people in the world” are dealing with the coronavirus, including Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator in the White Houseand head of the U.S.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We can learn a lot from them and we deeply appreciate the opportunity to cooperate, especially on the technological solutions for widespread screening and perhaps to get as soon as we can to home screening,” Netanyahu said. “I think this will change the situation, not only for the United States and for Israel, but for the world. I’m deeply grateful for this cooperation that is so important for the State of Israel and for many, many others.”

The PM held a meeting on Monday with senior technological experts working to track the coronavirus, a team from Health Ministry and the other relevant government ministries.

“We set a professional meeting on these technological issues with Dr. Birx’s American team,” the prime minister said. “She has greatly praised our national readiness. She said that the State of Israel is enacting a national policy – they see that things are very much under control and she commended that we have a national strategy.”

Netanyahu credited Israel’s steps quarantining people possibly carrying coronavirus and stopping people from entering Israel from countries where coronvirus is rapidly spreading.

“The steps that we have taken up until today have proven themselves because we really are in a situation of control, and the spread of the disease is of a much lower scope,” he said. “We see a sharp increase in many other countries and we reached the conclusion that if we need to take other steps, this will, in effect, be applied to all countries.”

Netanyahu also noted the economic challenges people are facing under the pandemic but said that, should the situation worsen, it would have an even greater negative effect on the economy. “It must be understood that in such a situation, health ensures the economy because it is clear to you that if there is a very major outbreak of the disease, it will be very difficult to maintain the economy.”

Netanyahu praised the citizens of Israel for their “impressive” response to the global crisis. “I understand that this is difficult for you but I must say that your response has been impressive. It is impressive on a global scale and it is saving lives. I thank you for following the instructions from the Health Ministry and the Health Ministry Director General; these are life-saving directives.

“Health takes precedence, over everything, this is life itself,” Netanyahu emphasized.