Israel Apologizes to UAE for Joke in Bad Taste

YERUSHALAYIM -

The United Arab Emirates asked Israel for clarification regarding comments it said were “unfitting” made by an Israeli health official who seemed to blame the UAE for the current rise in coronavirus infections on Israelis returning from Dubai, according to Ynet on Thursday.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office apologized for Health Ministry’s public health director Sharon Alroy-Preis’ comments, characterizing her remarks as “an unsuccessful joke.” They added that, in any case, the remarks were not meant for public consumption and she is not authorized to speak for the Israeli government on such matters.

Alroy-Preis is said to have told hospital chiefs that “in two weeks of peace [with the UAE] more people died than in 70 years of war.”

Israel and the UAE were never at war. Channel 13, which reported it, said that from the beginning of December, 906 Israelis who returned from the UAE were diagnosed with coronavirus, leading to a total of 4,050 cases, including many cases of the more infectious UK variant.