For the JC April 2021
Britain’s Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, accompanied by deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam, made a flying visit to Israel this week, to see how its success in opening up after Covid lockdown can be translated in the UK.
Mr Gove, one of Israel’s strongest supporters, arrived in Israel on Monday night and went straight into a meeting with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday morning. Mr Ashkenazi asked Mr Gove to express Israel’s thanks for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s opposition the International Criminal Court investigation of alleged war crimes by Israel.
During the Gove-Van Tam fact-finding mission, meetings were due to take place with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.
Mr Gove’s “shopping list” is understood to include the possibility of opening a travel corridor between Britain and Israel for those who are vaccinated, as well as to learn about Israel’s “Green Pass” scheme, lifting restrictions for those who can show immunity.
Mr Ashkenazi said: “The fight against the coronavirus pandemic is a challenge facing the whole world. After dealing with the medical challenge, we must find ways to bring the economy on track as quickly as possible”.
He said that 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..
Israel’s “Green Pass” operates via a smartphone app, which Mr Gove is said to be keen to introduce in Britain. Mr Gove and Mr Van Tam were also due to make a tour of testing facilities at Ben Gurion Airport.