Israel's National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) held a conference call on March 24 with its US counterpart, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for the first time. The two sides agreed to set up joint working groups on topics connected to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its effects.
The Israeli side was led by Kobi Vimisberg, head of NEMA's cooperation and assistance division, along with Asher Salmon, director of the international division of the Health Ministry, and Avner Golov, head of the foreign policy division of the National Security Council. Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention participated on behalf of the US. The conference call was part of the international cooperation on emergency matters led by NEMA.
Among the topics discussed were stopping the spread of the coronavirus, finding a vaccine, enforcing home quarantine, assisting senior citizens, dealing with the effects on the economy, and rehabilitating the society and the economy following the return to routine. The representatives exchanged information on the gaps and the challenges they face.
In addition, the two sides set milestones and topics of cooperation between the two countries, as well as means of exchanging knowledge and data, mutual updates and the building of a mechanism for continuous dialogue. The operations were divided into regularly-operating specialized groups that will update the forum every few days on their progress.