WATCH: In A First, Chareidi Minister Speaks At The UN General Assembly


Health and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel (Shas) on Wednesday became the first Chareidi minister to deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly.

Speaking in Hebrew, Arbel said. “First, I would like to express my deep sympathy to the Kingdom of Morocco, our partner today in submitting the declaration regarding the prevention, treatment and handling of pandemics. I express my condolences to the people of Morocco following the devastating earthquake that occurred in the kingdom and wish the injured a speedy recovery on behalf of the State of Israel and the government of Israel. The State of Israel will always be ready to help our friends and this time as well.

“The COVID-19 epidemic shocked the world, disrupted economies, damaged the livelihood of many, undermined family ties, and created many challenges in the education system. The epidemic severely shook the health systems in many countries, led to loss of life as well as long-term health problems that we are still studying.”

“The international community has identified two essential key actions at this stage: the reform of international health regulations and the formulation of an international tool for preparedness and response to a pandemic. The State of Israel strongly supports these efforts and is proud to be a partner in submitting the declaration together with the Kingdom of Morocco.

“For 75 years now, we have been committed to promoting physical and mental health and well-being. But for too long, mental health has not received the proper treatment and has not received the necessary resources. Now that the importance of mental health has been recognized, among other things, as lessons from the pandemic, we must ensure the allocation of adequate resources and funding.”

Arbel continued by elaborating on the mental health consequences of the COVID pandemic.

He ended his speech by saying: “I will conclude my words, which were spoken in the language of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, Dovid and Shlomo, Yirmiyahu and Yeshaya, with the words of the prophet Malachi: ‘Have we not all one father? Has not one G-d created us? Why should we betray, each one his brother, to to violate the covenant of our forefathers?’ Here we must commit to cooperation and not to politicization, and these words of the prophet Malachi, which are worthy of this house, should guide us and accompany us at all times.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)