Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman defended Israel in his address at a World Health Organization forum in Geneva, accusing the Palestinians of hijacking the conference for political purposes. “The WHO is supposed to be a professional organization, and I am very disappointed that the Palestinian delegate chose to use this forum to attack Israel,” he said. “I am more interested in discussing health matters, and especially the achievements of the Israeli health system.”
The Palestinian representative, who spoke on behalf of the Arab ministers at the event, decried Israel’s “execution” of civilians in Gaza, and Israel’s alleged role in the death of Syrians in that country’s civil war.
Rabbi Litzman said that he would not address the Palestinians’ “ridiculous comments,” but instead highlight Israel’s role in promoting world health. “The WHO has chosen ‘sustained development’ as its theme for this year, and that is part of my vision as Israel’s health minister,” he said. “The war on poverty and inequality are a main issue for us. We have an obligation to reduce the gaps between the geographic and economic periphery and the center, to help weaker populations to meet challenges.
“Israel provides health insurance for all residents. We guarantee a health insurance plan that is comprehensive and equitable. These services, which are embedded in the law, promise a high standard of care for all.” He invited developing countries to join Israel and help advance their own countries using resources Israel can offer.