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Amazon donates $300,000 to help Israel buy equipment to fight coronavirus

US online giant donates funds via Israel Healthcare Foundation, an independent US-based nonprofit associated with Clalit, Israel’s largest healthcare provider

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Jeff Bezos speaks at an event to unveil Blue Origin's Blue Moon lunar lander in Washington, May 9, 2019. (AP/Patrick Semansky, File)
Jeff Bezos speaks at an event to unveil Blue Origin's Blue Moon lunar lander in Washington, May 9, 2019. (AP/Patrick Semansky, File)

Online retail giant Amazon has donated $300,000, approximately NIS 1 million, to a US nonprofit organization to enable it to buy medical equipment and technology in Israel for healthcare professionals and patients during the COVID-19 crisis.

The donation will be made via the Israel Healthcare Foundation, an independent US-based nonprofit that seeks to improve healthcare for Israeli citizens and is the American friends’ association of Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest healthcare provider.

The funds will used be for the purchase of masks, ECMO devices — used to pump and oxygenate critically ill people’s blood — and other equipment to save the lives of COVID-19 patients, and to continue fighting the pandemic, the US firm said in a statement on Thursday.

“We are experiencing challenging times, like never before,, said Prof. Ehud Davidson, CEO of Clalit, in the statement. “We are working around the clock to treat COVID-19 patients, to protect our medical teams, and fight this virus. Amazon’s support at this critical time will help us to continue our lifesaving work.”

In the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon has set up a number of initiatives, including the global AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative to support research and development of rapid, accurate detection and testing of COVID-19, setting up a relief fund for independent delivery drivers and other subcontractors who work with the firm and face financial hardship or quarantine, and making donations of over 21 million euros to relief organizations across Europe to support those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the statement said.

The US firm came under fire earlier this month from employees and US senators regarding the treatment and safety of the warehouse workers of the firm, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon’s CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has seen his wealth surge by $24 billion in 2020, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, reaffirming his position as the world’s wealthiest person, with the online retailer seeing a boost in demand from customers as the deadly virus keeps shoppers at home. Bezos’s total net worth is $140 billion, the index showed.

The Bloomberg index ranked Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, as the second richest person in the world, with a net worth of $103 billion, down $10 billion since the start of the year.

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