Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a request from the UK last week to allow respiratory ventilators to be exported to the UK despite its mounting death toll from coronavirus, a report by Axios stated.
The request was allegedly made while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in hospital being treated for the deadly virus, the report added.
However, due to Netanyahu having signed an emergency decree outlawing any exports of life-saving machines, the sale did not go through.
The death toll in the UK, which has ranked among the worst hit countries in the world, has neared 13,000.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asked for the UK to have an exemption from the ban, and while Netanyahu was “understanding”, he said Israel needed them for themselves.
“Israel also faces a severe coronavirus outbreak, and the decision to ban the export of ventilators came amid fears of a domestic shortage as hospitalisations increased,” Axios reported.
Other countries have also sought to purchase ventilators from Israel, including 30 requested by Spain, but this was also turned down.
Along with signing an emergency decree banning the export of equipment, Netanyahu also ordered Mossad, Israel’s espionage agency, to procure a range of supplies, including face masks and mechanical ventilators required to keep some COVID-19 patients alive.
On Tuesday, a Mossad agent admitted stealing face masks and other medical supplies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, during a television interview with Channel 12’s “Fact”.
“The citizens of Israel will have no shortage,” the agent said. “In the world in general there will be a great shortage. People are dying because of a lack of equipment. In Israel people won’t go without.”