Israel and COVID-19: The politics of health, security, and government formation

PRIO Policy Brief

Martins, Bruno Oliveira & Mathias Hatleskog Tjønn (2020) Israel and COVID-19: The politics of health, security, and government formation, MidEast Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.

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​Israel has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, though not as seriously as other countries in the region. As of 10 June 2020, coronavirus casualties in the country stood at 299, but a June uptick in infections has generated uncertainty. Israel has also put to use highly contested means, setting aside personal rights and protections to a larger degree than other democracies, allowing the repurposing of anti-terror surveillance tools to track infection cases, and giving its intelligence service leeway in helping procure medical equipment. The Israeli situation – with hundreds of thousands of its citizens living in occupied territory – is complex, and the management of the pandemic has exposed pre-existing inequalities both within Israel itself, and between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

COVID-19 in the Middle East: Different Regimes, Different Responses

​In May, a new PRIO Middle East Centre project started. The project, entitled 'Reacting to COVID-19 Across the MENA region', aims to explore how Middle East states reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic and what these varied reactions say about the regimes in question, combining statistical analysis of regional patterns with five case studies: Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Israel, and Palestine. The case studies are published in the MidEast Policy Brief series, with an accompanying PRIO Paper presenting the statistical analysis.

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