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Here’s Why Israel Isn’t Giving Military Aid to Ukraine

Israel
Israel's Merkava IV tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has rejected requests for military aid from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinsky. Only days into the conflict, reports revealed how Zelenskyy asked Israel – an ally – for “assistance with implements and weapons.” Israel, however, responded with what has been described as “diplomatic politeness” and instead offered to help mediate between the two countries.

Israel also reportedly rejected a request from the Biden Administration to co-sponsor a resolution by the United Nations Security Council condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Later, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a statement saying that Israel would vote with the United States in the General Assembly in favor of the resolution but would not support any sanctions against the country.

“We established an inter-ministry team that will examine the effects and consequences of the sanctions on the Israeli economy and policy,” Lapid said at the time.

Since then, Bennett has engaged in discussions with both Russian and Ukrainian officials in the hope of helping the two sides come to an agreement that will end the conflict in the country.

Why Israel Didn’t Get Involved

Israel has strong ties to both Ukraine and Russia, and the country cannot afford to make an already difficult diplomatic situation worse. Israel’s airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria, where Russia has a military presence, are already a source of diplomatic problems for Israel.

At present, Russia allows the Israeli Air Force to target Iranian convoys crossing Syria to deliver weapons and ammunition to Hezbollah in the south of Lebanon.

Combined with the fact that Ukraine is home to more than 200,000 Jewish citizens who qualify for Israeli citizenship – at least, before the invasion began and millions evacuated the country – and it’s clear that Israel is in a tough spot.

“The U.S. is our very important ally, but since the civil war in Syria we have had to deal with the Russians because they’ve become our neighbors,” former deputy national security adviser to the Israeli government, Orna Mizrahi, said about the situation.

“It is so important for us that Russia turns a blind eye to what we have been doing in Syria, acting against the transfer of weapons, the entrenchment of the Iranians.”

Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, also told the New York Times that they believe Israel is the “only democratic state in the world that has great relations with both Ukraine and Russia.”

Israel Promises to Do All It Can

Despite refusing to levy sanctions against Russia or provide Ukraine with weapons – much to the anger of President Zelenskyy, who lambasted Israel in an address to Parliament on March 20 – Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid promised to do “as much as we can” to aid Ukraine.

“We can ask why we can’t receive weapons from you, why Israel has not imposed powerful sanctions on Russia or is not putting pressure on Russian business,” Zelenskyy said in the address.

The Ukrainian president also made direct reference to the Israeli Iron Dome System, used to intercept rockets fired from Gaza.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Alex

    April 5, 2022 at 11:00 am

    How can Israel intervene? No matter how they feel about Russia, they definitely will not help those who killed their ancestors. They are not crazy.

  2. Vladolph Putler

    April 5, 2022 at 10:40 pm

    Israel, actually, has condemned Russia’s atrocities openly.

    And considering the pogroms and Stalin’s own concentration camps full of Jews, the motivations fall right in line with those of the author.

    Nazi propaganda got the people of Germany to believe all sorts of things. As seen in the Russian populace today. Brainwashed wholesale.

  3. Don

    April 6, 2022 at 9:00 am

    Israel’s self serving & IMMORAL policy on Ukraine is as deplorable as it is unbelievable. The greatest victims of genocide stand by & do nothing while Russia engages in brutal war, atrocities, mass genocide & destruction of a free allied nation??? UNBELIEVABLE TREACHERY BY ISRAEL! Israel is earning the condemnation of the free world & indifference by the free world to any attacks or atrocities that occur in Israel in the future. I & many others have lost all respect & concern for Israel in the future. In the event of an attack on Israel, Israel should be treated exactly as Israel is treating Ukraine. With complete indifference. Their cowardly inaction on Ukraine is an eternal stain on the honor & morality Israel & the Jewish people.

    • Gunner 7

      May 16, 2022 at 3:28 am

      Their refusal to help Ukraine falls in line with the attack on the USS Liberty. Research how the Liberty was assaulted by the Israeli Air Force in international waters, LBJ & Congress let them off the hook.

  4. Natalya

    April 7, 2022 at 6:48 am

    Israel sent a military hospitals with doctors to Ukraine.

  5. Alex

    April 7, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    Israel kicked Ukrainian bastards with swastikas out of their hospitals. Well done Jews!

  6. Rudy Puister

    May 15, 2022 at 5:03 am

    Now Russia is beeing weakened both in Militairy, economic as in political sense on the worlds stage I would think the Israelies are making the wrong choice. Or are they simply waiting for the right moment?
    It must be a pain for them to see Russias existence in Syria. If there is any time to try to get them out and thus weaken the regime in Syria and opening a way to counter the influence of Iran it is now.
    Russia is behind many of the ‘unrest’ in many parts of the world and geopolitical gains of the Russians in the middle east is not in their interest.
    Syria/Russia is not going to attack Israel. The Russians already know what it means to attack a ‘weak’ brother nation. Let alone what it means to attack a higly militairised sophisticated and battle tested nation that is not even their real neigbour… The Russians are nuts, but not that nuts…

    Israel is making the wrong choice in staying on the sideline of the conflict in Ukraine.

  7. drazen

    May 18, 2022 at 4:52 am

    israel is a criminal country. they occupy both syria and west bank. they are last who should criticise russia because they are doing the same for decades

  8. Elema

    June 29, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Ukraine has never helped Israel in any of the wars fought against it, as well many Jews were slaughtered by Ukrainians, also Russia has never helped Israel, and many Jews were slaughtered by Russians. Israel owes nothing to both Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine was proudly a part of the soviet union when they gave weapons to the Arabs to fight israel. why do you all think Israel has to help, if they give their weapons to Ukraine, then they will be short (and Iran can attack at any time). also if they give high tech weapons to Ukraine then it may get captured by Russia, then reverse engineered, then used against Israel, as well Russia might sell it to Iran or Turkey or Syria so they can fight israel. no Israel should rightly stay out of this one, and let the slavs fight each other if they want to, dont blame Israel, it is a war between them. if you lot want to help Ukraine, then challenge yourself and actually go over their yourself, or shut up.

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