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In a sign of improving relations, firms in Israel and the United Arab Emirates are expected to work together to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“In light of strengthening international cooperation in the fields of research, development & technology in service of humanity, two private companies in UAE sign an agreement with two companies in Israel to develop research technology to fight COVID-19,” tweeted a UAE spokesperson on Thursday.


Hezi Levi, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Health, issued a similar announcement that the private-sector scientific and medical cooperation between the two countries would rise “above the historical political challenges.”

Although Israel and the UAE don’t have formal diplomatic relations, the two nations have grown closer of late amid the Iranian threat.

The upcoming partnership to battle the global pandemic comes in spite of the UAE warning that Israel would be jeopardizing its improved relations with Abu Dhabi if Jerusalem were to go ahead and annex parts of the West Bank, as it plans to do so starting in July.