Arab News, April 19, 2022
More than a month ago, and two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Moscow on a secret trip to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and offer his services as a mediator. He had also made several phone calls to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the same reason. But Bennett’s attempt to maintain a balanced stance on the Ukraine crisis was short-lived. Under US pressure, Israel voted to condemn Moscow’s invasion in the General Assembly last March. A few days later the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv conveyed Moscow’s “disappointment” with the Israeli vote. Less than a month later, Israel voted to suspend Russia’s membership of the Human Rights Council. The Kremlin has had enough. On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador in Moscow to protest Israel’s “anti-Russian attack.” A Foreign Ministry statement said that
“there was a poorly camouflaged attempt to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine to distract the international community’s attention from one of the oldest unsettled conflicts — the Palestinian-Israeli one.”
Israel has been in a unique position to help mediate between Russia and Ukraine. Israel has had finely balanced relations with Russia and learned how to deal with Putin over Syria and reached an “understanding” over that situation. But Israel is also close with Ukraine. Ukraine is the only other nation on earth (apart from Israel) with a Jewish president and prime minister. There are very close ties between the nations as well regardless of that leadership. But Israel has been forced (mainly by the US) to vote against Russia in recent weeks. This has caused Russian anger. They are pointing to Israel’s own conflict. In other words – keep out of our war or your own war might begin.
and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, (Ezekiel 39:2-4)
From the Weekly World Watch