Israel's new far-right government is unlikely to change the country’s policy towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but will instead continue to balance between Washington and Moscow, trying not to upset either, Politico reported on Jan. 12.
The article states that Israel has provided Ukraine with food, medicine, water, and other humanitarian aid, but is yet to offer any significant military support.
Israeli Foreign Minister El Cohen said last week that his government will continue to balance the situation and try to make fewer public statements about the conflict.
Experts suggest that Syria is the reason for this delicate balancing act.
“On one hand, Iran provides Russia with drones, but at the same time, Russia has allowed Israel to face Iran and Hezbollah in Syria,” said Raffaella A. Del Sarto, a Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
Thus, this arrangement could be threatened if Israel helped Ukraine in the war against Russia, so Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his team are unlikely to change course.
“There’s no change in the Israeli policy vis-a-vis Ukraine,” said an Israeli official.
Israel will continue to resist global calls for military assistance to Ukraine, even as some countries promote the idea of the Iron Dome air defense system making its way to the war zone.
Del Sarto stated that the Iron Dome “would be military aid even if it's a defensive weapon, and Israel doesn’t want to upset Russia.”
At the same time, the article claims that inaction on the military front remains an awkward decision for Jerusalem, especially considering that Iran is transferring drones to Russia, which are then used to attack Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure.
“Once those Iranian drones started showing up in Ukraine, it became pretty alarming for them (Israeli officials),” said Nicolè M. Ford, a political science and international studies professor at the University of Tampa.
Furthermore, the report says U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss Iran-related issues with Israeli officials during their next trips to Jerusalem. However, it is unclear whether they will seek to persuade the new government to increase support for Ukraine.
Experts believe that Israel would support Ukraine more if Washington stopped criticizing Israeli ongoing abuses against the Palestinians. But the Biden administration has pledged to denounce Israeli human rights abuses.
Earlier, The Times of Israel reported that the cabinet of the newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated a change in policy towards Ukraine.
According to Walla News journalist Barak Ravid, Cohen hinted that he wouldn’t publicly denounce Russia for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, the minister promised to continue humanitarian assistance to Kyiv.