Concern and disappointment in Israel over the strengthening Russia-Iran ties

Moscow failed to condemn Iran’s unprecedented aerial assault on Israel, thus abandoning its stated commitment to Israel’s security.

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: Iran, Russia
Photo: EPA-EFE/SERGEI BOBYLEV / KREMLIN POOL

In his speech to the Security Council last week, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, called for sanctions to be imposed on Israel for not complying with the Security Council’s resolution demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip during Ramadan.

Nebenzya’s call is a new and disturbing phase in the ever-increasing tensions between Israel and Russia, which since the outbreak of the Gaza war and even before that has distanced itself from Jerusalem and downplayed, if not abandoned its long-standing commitment to the Jewish state’s security and right to self-defense.

The strengthening of relations between Russia and Iran on the security, military and political level is a source of great concern in Jerusalem. The lack of clear condemnation of the unprecedented Iranian attack against Israel (350 drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles) has caused severe disappointment in Israel. Little by little, Russia is simply ignoring its long-standing traditional position of commitment to Israel’s security on the one hand, while failing to take into account the fact that over a million Russians live in Israel and support Israel’s right to self-defense.

The impression one gets in Israel is that Moscow does not understand the Israeli public and the increasingly negative image it creates for itself here.

In Jerusalem, the statements coming out of Moscow since October 7 are being followed with real concern. Russia showed zero empathy toward Israel, avoided condemning Hamas and even hosted the Hamas leadership in Moscow twice already. But still what shocked officials in Israel most was Russia’s response to the Iranian attack. The Russians were simply not shy to say out loud: We are on ‘Team Iran.’

It is instructive to listen carefully to what Putin’s mouthpieces say. Dmitri Rogozin, a senator who held very senior security positions, said that in the event of a major war between Iran and Israel, Iran will defeat Israel. He also said that there are no good soldiers in the Israeli army except for new immigrants from Russia who today serve in special units in the IDF. “I think Iran will manage on its own, but relations between Iran and Russia are very important. Iran has learned many lessons from what is happening in Ukraine. Iran benefits a lot from economic and energy cooperation with Russia,” said Rogozin, adding that “Iran has every right to choose any method of self-defense if it needs to.”

Voices from Russia applied at least as much pressure as the West for Israel to avoid a major military response to Iran’s attack. For example, Sergey Mardan, a senior commentator for the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda was interviewed on the popular program of Vladimir Solovyov (one of Putin’s main mouthpieces) and said that Russia supports Iran in its conflict with Israel. According to him, Iran is Moscow’s ally, one of the few countries supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine. “That’s why it’s clear who we want to win,” noted Mardan. “Of course we want Iran to win. Israel has about 200 nuclear bombs. Who said these idiots have enough sense not to use them?” Marden also said in relation to the interception of 99 percent of the Iranian missiles, that it was a shame they didn’t shoot down some American planes.

To this should be added the fact that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to answer the question of whether Tehran informed Moscow in advance of the planned attacks on Israel. “I can’t tell you anything here,” he answered when pressed by journalists.

Peskov noted that the Russian Federation maintains constructive working relations with both Iran and Israel. “You know that Russia continues to have close contacts. We have very constructive relations with Tehran and also with Israel. We conduct a dialogue, we talk about the need to de-escalate and we call on all countries in the region to exercise reasonable restraint in this situation,” he emphasized.

Last week, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, lashed out at Israel’s ambassador to Russia, Simona Halperin, following Halperin’s call for Russia to condemn the Iranian attack. “Simone, remind me, when did Israel condemn even one attack by the Ukrainian regime in Russia? I don’t remember, and you? But I remember the constant support for Zelensky’s actions from Israeli officials,” wrote Zakharova on her Telegram channel.

The Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that when President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke following the attack on Israel, Raisi praised the principled and constructive position of the Russian government in backing the Islamic Republic’s rig to defends itself against the aggression of the “Zionist regime” following the strike on the Iranian consulate facility in Syria. Raisi insisted the strike, which killed a top Iranian general responsible for Revolutionary Guard forces in Syria and Lebanon, was a “clear violation of international law and the Vienna Convention.”

According to the Iranian report, Putin also condemned the “act of terrorism” by the “Zionist regime” against the consulate of the Islamic Republic of Iran, calling it an action contrary to all international standards and norms: “What happened on the part of the Islamic Republic of Iran in response to this criminal act and in the shadow of the inaction of the Security Council was the best way to punish the aggressor and an expression of the wisdom and rationality of Iran’s leaders.”

The Russian president also sharply criticized the behavior of the United States and some Western countries in connection with tensions in the region. “We are sure that the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the main pillars of stability and security in the region,” said Putin.

The Kremlin reported that in the conversation with Raisi, Putin expressed the hope that all parties would show reasonable restraint and not allow a new round of confrontation, fraught with disastrous consequences for the entire region.

Last week, National Security Advisor Nikolai Petrushev called his Israeli counterpart, National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, and urged restraint regarding Iran and the situation in the Middle East. “In the context of the worsening of the situation in the Middle East, Petrushev noted the need for all parties to show restraint in order to prevent further escalation of the conflict. It was emphasized that Russia insists on resolving disputes exclusively through political and diplomatic means,” read the Russian statement. Hanegbi made it clear to Petrushev the seriousness of Iranian aggression and the duty of the whole world to condemn it.

The last problematic statement was last Thursday night in the debate on accepting “Palestine” as a full member of the United Nations with the support of Russia.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations called for the imposition of sanctions on Israel because of its disregard for the Security Council’s resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza over Ramadan. Nebenzya completely ignored the fact that Hamas itself had rejected the holiday ceasefire proposal, and said: “Unfortunately, Israel openly ignores Resolution 2728, and the US encourages it. If the decision is not implemented, the Security Council has the right to impose sanctions on those who violate and sabotage its decisions. We repeat and emphasize that non-compliance with binding decisions of the Security Council should lead to sanctions against the violators. We believe that the council should consider this issue without delay.”

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One response to “Concern and disappointment in Israel over the strengthening Russia-Iran ties”

  1. Disciple 1978 says:

    Both Russia and Iran practised aggression against Ukraine and Israel. Supporting UN resolutions to prevent those nations defending themselves is wicked. They have created an axis of evil that even China might join. They are being manipulated by Antichrist to negate their power, as has already happened to the empires and the nations. They can read of their demise in Ezekiel 38 if they wish.

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