Yossi Cohen, the highly successful former head of Mossad, warned this week that Israel must stay out of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem just days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Cohen said it was best for Israel to refrain from “choosing a side.”
“It is better to sit in the corner quietly. We have a tendency to put our heads under axes not meant for us,” Cohen said at the Makor Rishon conference. “This is a very difficult and complex international campaign. I know the players well.”
Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid seemingly did the opposite of what Cohen recommended when he stated that if push comes to shove, Israel will side with America and its other Western allies.
“It is natural for Israel to stand with the United States,” Lapid told Channel 12 News as Washington threatened punitive action Russia.
A chorus of Israeli government ministers immediately chimed in and echoed Lapid’s assertion that if the situation escalates any further, Israel might have no choice but to take the side of Ukraine, which is backed by America and the European Union.
In it’s first official statement on the conflict issued on Wednesday just hours before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett conspicuously failed to condemn Russia and its actions, as Western powers had done.