Michael Gove arrives in Israel for ‘vaccine passport talks’
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Michael Gove arrives in Israel for ‘vaccine passport talks’

UK Cabinet Office minister, who travelled with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam, was rumoured in recent days to be planning a visit

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Michael Gove  (Blake Ezra Photography Ltd.)
Michael Gove, pictured in 2019 (Photo: Blake Ezra Photography Ltd)

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove arrived in Israel on Monday on an unannounced visit, reportedly to discuss a vaccine passport arrangement.

Gove, who is one of the most senior ministers in Boris Johnson’s government, is said to have been accompanied on the small BAe HS146 aircraft by Jonathan Van-Tam, one of England’s deputy Chief Medical Officers.

The plane was photographed approaching for a landing at Ben Gurion Airport by Haaretz English editor Avi Scharf, who is also a keen observer of flight traffic in the region.

Several UK media outlets had speculated Gove would visit Israel this week to examine Israel’s vaccination programme in person.

The country’s vaccine rollout is one of the most successful in the world, with nearly five million people — or 53.5% of the population — now fully vaccinated.

On Sunday Israeli authorities lifted a rule requiring people to wear masks outdoors in public.

Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer said Gove’s visit would likely involve meetings with Israel’s health and foreign minister, and possibly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu too.

He will also be given a tour of testing facilities at Ben Gurion Airport “with a view to creating [a] flight corridor between Israel and the UK”, Pfeffer said on Twitter.

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

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