Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations has published an academic paper by Hani Ramadan Taleb entitled “The Israeli Position on the Ukraine War,” in Arabic.
This paper discusses the Israeli position on the Russian-Ukrainian war, covering the developments up to 14/3/2022, where Israel, on one hand, considers itself part of the Western world and, on the other hand, it has vital relations with the Russian Federation.
The position of the Israeli government and the Israeli media has indicated that Israel is confused and doesn’t wish this war to erupt. The last thing that Israel desires at this stage is to find itself forced to take an explicit position; by choosing between standing with Washington, its strong supporter politically, economically, technologically and security wise, and Moscow given the development of their political, economic and military relations. Therefore, since the start of the Russian war on Ukraine on 24/2/2022, Israel has generally embraced a “conservative approach,” as it did not initially join the Western countries, especially the US, Israel’s ally, in condemning the Russian war, while its Prime Minister Naftali Bennett emphasized the strong relations with Russia and Ukraine. Because of its proximity to the warring parties, Israel offered to mediate between the two sides, a proposal Ukrainian officials supported.
However, when the US and its allies announced the imposition of strict sanctions on Moscow, after the Russian invasion, and under pressure from Washington and Western countries on Israel to take an explicit position, it was difficult for it to avoid condemning Russia. So, it took some measures on the ground against it, yet without announcing officially its joining of the sanctions, since it does not want to anger Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hence, Israel remains several steps behind its allies regarding the actual measures taken against Russia. Furthermore, it has not yet engaged in implementing economic sanctions against the Russians as requested and expected by the West, and it has also not responded yet to Ukraine’s repeated requests for military support.
In return, and since Israel considers itself the state of the Jews, it is concerned with the fate of Israelis living in Russia and Ukraine (around 8 thousand persons in Ukraine are holders of Israeli passports), in addition to the Ukrainian Jewish community (estimated at around 200,000). According to this formula, depicting Israel as a country worried for its citizens rather than a country with a clear political position, Israel’s current stance helps it maintain its position in the Western camp, yet at the same time without angering Russia. This is what made the Russians turn a blind eye to the statement of Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair paid, where Israel phrased its statement based on “humanitarian” rather than political discourse; it asserted its readiness to “provide humanitarian aid to the citizens of Ukraine,” but not to the ruling class. It also tried to convey its statement in a way which condemns Russian military intervention, but not on political or alliance grounds.
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>>Academic Paper: The Israeli Position on the Ukraine War (Arabic) (20 pages, 1.8 MB)
By: Hani Ramadan Taleb. (Exclusively for al-Zaytouna Centre).