In spite of shortages in protective equipment including face masks in the US, putting both health workers and patients at risk, the Department of Defence has supplied the Israeli army with up to one million masks in an effort to help in its fight against coronavirus.
The masks were procured from China and a plane landed in Ben-Gurion airport last night, intended for Israeli soldiers “on the front lines” of preventing the spread of the virus, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“In the past two weeks we have purchased and flown to Israel tens of thousands of swabs, masks, protective suits for medical staff and more,” said Limor Kolishevsky, head of the New York Purchasing and Logistics Division.
“A million masks, procured in China, were quickly flown to Israel with the intention that the IDF will be using them within the next few days,” he added.
Interesting to know the US citizens’ opinion on thishttps://t.co/xZIX9yoqQl
— Ali (@allushiii) April 8, 2020
The article in the Post was originally headlined, “US Department of Defense give 1 million masks to IDF for coronavirus use” and this is still visible in the article’s hyperlink text, however the headline now reads “Israel brings 1 million masks from China for IDF soldiers” in a possible attempt at downplaying the role of the US government, which is already facing allegations of “piracy” in redirecting mask shipments meant for the American market.
An Israeli military reporter, also tweeted images of the shipment of masks as they arrived in Israel, before explaining in a follow up tweet that it was attributed to the Department of Defense “procurement delegates”.
Today it was reported that US President Trump had also ordered a freeze on exports of masks to Canada and Latin America. This prompted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to retaliate by saying it “goes both ways across the border”, noting that thousands of nurses travel from Canada to work in the US every day.
Last month Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency reportedly obtained millions of masks, tens of thousands of testing kits and several ventilators. At least 100,000 of the testing kits were said to be “incomplete”.
The US is leading the rest of the world in number of reported cases of coronavirus at over 400,000 and has 12,857 reported deaths. Israel’s cases are lower although steadily rising, with the majority of cases concentrated among its ultra-orthodox Jewish community who have been defying government orders on social-distancing, prompting them to attempt a lockdown on the religious Passover holiday.