Russia will invade Ukraine this week, according to widespread media reports. Israel has already told its citizens to flee the Eastern European country. But Ukrainian officials say there’s much more at stake for the Jewish state.
“In case of an escalation, the State of Israel will be directly affected,” Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova told reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday following a meeting with Israel Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
She was referring to the fact that like many European countries, Israel imports a large percentage of its grain from Ukraine.
“Cut your bread supply in half to understand how Israel will be affected” should Russia invade and take over Ukraine, Dzhaparova told The Jerusalem Post.
Israel has been walking a tightrope in regards to Russia and Ukraine due to its sensitive and strategically-important relations with both nations.
As we noted previously, both Russia and Ukraine remain home to large Jewish communities that Israel doesn’t want to see blamed for a looming conflict and subsequently targeted by mob violence. Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai said that Israel should prepare for the mass Aliyah of Ukrainian Jews in the event of a war.
Israel is also wary of getting on Russia’s bad side for fear of losing the ability to strike Iranian military targets in neighboring Syria, a practice that Russian forces deployed there have turned a blind eye to for years.