The list of countries that have been promised vaccines from Israel now stands at nineteen, according to media reports on Wednesday.
Although Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu disclosed on Tuesday that Israel would be transferring “symbolic” quantities to several countries, he did not name the countries or the specific amounts.
According to the Kan public broadcaster, the countries on the list include: Cyprus, Mauritania, Hungary, Honduras, Guatemala, Czech Republic, the Maldives, Ethiopia, Chad, Kenya, Uganda, Guinea and more.
Each country is slated to receive between 1,000 and 5,000 doses from what Netanyahu described as surplus stocks.
The prime minister has come under fire for deciding a matter unilaterally that could potentially harm Israeli citizens, who have not yet all received the vaccinations.
In response, Netanyahu told reporters on Wednesday night that Israel has “more than enough” vaccines for its own people, and that “it was done in return for things we already received, through many contacts in various areas that I will not detail here,” Netanyahu said. “I think it absolutely buys goodwill.”
Netanyahu refused to further elaborate, while insisting no Israeli would lose out on the vaccine. Reports have been saying that the shots were being traded off for improvements in diplomatic relations, but neither Netanyahu or any of the countries named have confirmed that.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz lashed out at him on Tuesday: “The fact that Netanyahu is trafficking [in] the vaccines of Israeli citizens, which were paid for with their tax money, without accountability, shows that he thinks he’s running a monarchy, not a state.
“Such a process requires discussion and approval. Only a security, diplomatic, or urgent medical need could justify such a process and Netanyahu must present this to the public or at the very least have it approved by the relevant forums,” Gantz said.
Other officials confirmed that they had not been consulted. Coronavirus commissioner Nachman Ash said on Wednesday that he was one of them, but avoided criticizing Netanyahu directly.
“I understand there were various considerations but I can’t address them,” he told Ynet. “It’s important to vaccinate all Israeli citizens and this is the top priority.”
Chezy Levy, director-general of the Health Ministry, told Army Radio that he was also not consulted.
Finance Minister Yisrael Katz, a senior member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, commented: “I sign the checks and I didn’t sign off on anything like this.”