Israelis eager to join Georgia in fight against Russia

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Russia's envoy to Israel on Monday thanked Jerusalem for its "balanced" response to Moscow's war against Georgia, while many of the 80,000 Georgian Jews who live in Israel were eager to return to their former home country and join the battle.

Representative of the community's feelings, a group of young Israelis of Georgian decent told The Jerusalem Post during a protest outside the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv that they are trying to arrange a flight to Tbilisi for those like themselves who want to join the Georgian armed forces.

Even Israel's massive Russian-speaking population is leaning toward Georgia in the current conflict. Many Russian Jews also participated in Monday's demonstration and harshly criticized Moscow.

There has been widespread grassroots criticism of the Israeli government for not siding with Georgia, a fellow democracy that has been the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Israeli weapons and military training.

But Israel's leadership has expressed concern that backing Georgia would upset Moscow and lead to increased Russian arms sales to Israel's regional foes. The result has been a freeze on Israeli arms sales to Georgia, and a refusal to answer pleas from Tbilisi for Israeli pressure on Russia to halt its invasion of Georgia.

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