Ukraine Wants Israel’s Iron Dome System, But Israel Isn’t Ready – After Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai suggested on Twitter that Israel should finally take sides in the Ukraine conflict and provide direct assistance to Ukraine, a letter was sent by the Ukrainian government on Tuesday officially requesting air defense systems that will help protect against Iranian ballistic missiles.
The letter, sent by the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel, describes how Russia has switched tactics and is now relying on the use of medium and long-range missiles in Ukraine.
Ukraine also informed the Israeli Foreign Ministry that Russia is using Iranian-made drones to target civilian infrastructure and urban population centers.
“According to available information … there is a high probability of prompt deliveries to the Russian Federation of Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from Iran,” the letter reads.
“In this regard, in order to ensure the protection of peaceful population, Ukraine makes an official offer to Israel to initiate the practical mutual cooperation in the field of air/missile defense.”
The letter goes on to express interest in obtaining from Israel, in the “shortest possible terms,” a number of air defense systems including the Iron Beam, Barak-8, Patriot, Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow Interceptor.
Ukraine also requests that, should Israel provide the weapons, Israeli soldiers also provide training to Ukrainian operators to ensure that the weapons can be used most effectively.
Iron Dome: Israel Isn’t Ready
Despite Ukraine’s need to immediately bolster its air defense systems, and despite the suggestion from Israel’s diaspora affairs minister that Israel should now publicly side with Ukraine, the chances still seem slim.
Anonymous Israeli government sources told Hebrew news outlets on Monday that the comments did not reflect the government’s view, and no statements of support for Ukraine have been issued over the last week.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also confirmed on Wednesday that Israel has no intention to assist Ukraine in fighting Russia. Instead, Gantz said Israel intends to help Ukraine create a smart warning system that would alert the Ukrainian people to incoming missiles – a system similar to the ones Israel uses for aerial threats from neighboring Palestine.
There’s good reason to be concerned, too. On Monday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as the deputy chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, said that Russia would immediately sever all diplomatic ties with Israel if its government chooses to side with Ukraine.
“It seems Israel will supply weapons to the Kyiv regime. A very reckless move,” Medvedev said on Telegram. “It will destroy all diplomatic relations between our countries.”
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.