(תמונה: מפגש רשמי עם שר הבריאות האמירתי, עבד אל רחמן אל אווייס – דובאי).
Your Excellency, E. Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed bin Nasser el Owais, Minister of Health of the United Arab Emirates,
Ms. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security,
Mr. Issawi Frej, Israeli Minister of regional cooperation,
Menachem Gantz, our host, and honored guests,
It is a pleasure to join you here in the United Arab Emirates to inaugurate the regional forum of experts on diabetes and obesity.
Today we are celebrating the new joint initative between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which is a pioneering partnership that has been made possible thanks to the Abraham Accords.
These days, we are all following with concern the developing situation in the Ukraine. These days especially we are reminded of the significance of peace, diplomacy, and global cooperation.
It is our responsibility to work together to offer a better future for our countries and our children, and ensure that the fundamental human rights of life, freedom, health and prosperity is possible for everyone, rather than offered to a select few.
Our presence here in the culmination of this ideal, and I hope that together, we can face major global challenges. Regional cooperation with the UAE, Bahrain and others is at once an unbelievable development and yet wonderful how it is beginning to feel so common and natural.
In such a short time we have built a strong foundation for regional cooperation, and what better place to start than health.
We all face similar challenges and through cooperation we can improve the quality of life for all peoples of the region. In my first trip to Dubai as Minister of Health I am full of optimism for what we can accomplish together.
One priority area is combatting the rise of Non-communicable diseases. Sometimes we forget, but before the COVID-19 pandemic, combating and managing NCDs were the top priority for most of the world.
Obesity is an epidemic and it is spreading rapidly around the world, and in recent years, unhealthy eating and lack of exercise have experienced very alarming increases.
About 10% of the adult population in Israel suffers from diabetes. The Ministry of Health considers the prevention of obesity and diabetes and their optimal treatment as significant goals and significant investments have been and are being dedicated to this. The cultures and culinary traditions we share in the region often contribute to this problem and require tailored approaches.
In Israel we are pioneering methods to prevent diabetes through encouraging health choices in our “healthy is possible” program and our nutritional labeling reforms as well as focusing on the better management of the disease to prevent acute incidents and hospitalizations.
It is important to remember that obesity and diabetes are preventable and treatable diseases and we work hard to reduce their incidence
There is also much we can learn from our neighbors and friends in this area and many others.
Through genetic research and personalized healthcare we can find tailored solutions for all of the children of Abraham. And through collaboration in emergency preparedness and supporting each other we can ensure not only that we are ready for any disaster, but that we can be there for each other in any time of need.
Together strong nations like our can bring health benefits to all the people of the world – through our technology and digital health improvements which has grown in leaps and bounds in these past 2 years.
Together we can develop the digital tools to better treat disease, to improve early detection and prevention, increase continuity of care and give our practitioners the improvement in productivity they need to address the increased strain on health systems as populations age.
Using health as a basis among other mutual interest we have built not only strong and warm relations between good neighbors, but have shown the world the potential that can be unlocked by expanding the circle of peace amongst the children of Abraham. We invite the other countries of the region to join us. As it is written in psalms, “how good and how pleasant is it when brothers sit together”