Ukraine this week continued its criticism of Israel for not joining other Western powers in arming the Eastern European country against its Russian foes.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk has acknowledged the Jewish state’s assistance in other ways, but said on Tuesday that what his country really needs are weapons, in particular Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Washington would surely not block the sale of the Iron Dome to Ukraine, Korniychuk insisted during a press conference in Tel Aviv, suggesting that could be the only reason Israel might oppose the move.
Israel has sent protective gear to Ukrainian first responders, and was the only country to establish and operate a field hospital in the war-torn country. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also made herculean efforts to broker a ceasefire.
But Jerusalem has indeed refrained from joining the West’s arming of Ukraine mostly out of concern for Russia’s response.
Israel maintains warm relations with both countries, which are home to large Jewish populations, a fact that facilitated its early ceasefire-brokering efforts.
But when Russia’s atrocities could no longer be overlooked, and Israeli ministers began to condemn Moscow, the reaction was swift. The Kremlin issued a statement questioning Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, and Russian forces in Syria are believed to have for the first time helped in defending against an Israeli airstrike.
Israel needs the Russians to continue turning a blind eye to its military actions against Iran and its proxies in Syria, lest the Islamic Republic succeed in opening a dangerous new front in its campaign to eliminate the Jewish state.
With reporting by JNS.