Israeli lawmakers call on Netanyahu to donate anti-missile, anti-drone systems to Ukraine
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (front) (Photo:Motti Millrod/Pool via REUTERS)
Chair of Israeli parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Yuli Edelstein, has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to stop "fence-sitting" on the issue of Ukraine and provide Kyiv with military aid, Reuters reported on Feb. 21.
Edelstein headed an Israeli parliamentary delegation on a visit to Kyiv, where Knesset lawmakers met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He said that Iran’s role in the Russia aggression is obvious, as it supplies suicide drones that Russia uses to attack Ukrainian critical infrastructure.
“I have seen with my own eyes what is happening in the region,” Edelstein said in a Twitter post.
“Iranian technology and weapons are being used by Russia and provide Iran with combat experience. We must no longer sit on the fence. Israel must support Ukraine against the dangerous combination of Russia and Iran.”
In a joint statement, Edelstein and Zeev Elkin, an Israeli opposition MP, called on Netanyahu’s cabinet to considerably step-up support of Ukraine, going beyond humanitarian aid. Jerusalem Post subsequently reported that they called on the government to provide Kyiv with anti-missile and anti-drone systems.
"We must assist Ukraine in all realms where Israeli technology – including military – is capable of helping protect the civilian population, its liberty and its independence," the joint statement reads.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Ukrainian official told Reuters he was "cautiously encouraged" by the joint statement of the lawmakers, calling it "the first one that fully aligned with our vision or the reality of our two countries." Netanyahu's office is yet to comment on the matter.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Feb. 16. He became the first top Israeli official to visit Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion. He visited Bucha and Hostomel, as well as Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial in Kyiv. Cohen promised Kyiv an early aerial threat warning system, while the Ukrainian side passed to the minister a list of weapons Ukraine is in need of, with a particular focus on air defense systems.
Officially, Israel has condemned the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and provided humanitarian aid, short of weapons. The New York Times wrote that Jerusalem secretly helps Kyiv with intelligence sharing, in particular when it comes to countering Iranian kamikaze drones.
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