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Putting Netanyahu In A No Win Situation, Ukraine Slams Israel Before The Eyes Of The World

Erick Stakelbeck

Over the past few days, in the midst of the Russian rebellion, there have been signs of serious tension between Ukraine and Israel, at least in the diplomatic realm. 

Ukraine’s embassy to Israel on Sunday, no doubt with the blessing of Kyiv, launched a fierce volley directed at the Israeli government, accusing Israel of not being neutral in the Ukraine-Russia war but instead taking a “pro-Russia position.”

The Zelenskyy government went on to call the visit to Ukraine back in February by Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen “fruitless.” It then accused Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials of engaging in “verbal demagoguery” as they explained why they could not supply weapons to Ukraine.

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Let’s first unpack the claims of a pro-Russia position and verbal demagoguery by Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

Netanyahu gave an interview last week in which he was very clear and carried a common sense position:

I think Israel is in a peculiar situation, different from say, Poland or Germany or France or any of the Western countries that are assisting Ukraine.

First of all, we have a close military border with Russia. Our pilots are flying right next to Russian pilots over the skies of Syria. And I think it’s important that we maintain our freedom of action against Iran’s attempts to place itself militarily on our northern border.

Russia is at their doorstep in Syria. They need freedom of movement to strike Iran, Hezbollah, and their various jihadi allies in Syria. That is an existential threat to the Jewish state to allow Iran to acquire advanced weapons or to transit advanced weapons through Syria, like precision-guided missiles, and to establish a forward base on the Syria-Israel border. It’s a non-starter for Israel.

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Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against Iran and its allies in Syria over the past several years under the watchful eye of Russia. Thousands of Russian troops are in Syria right now at Israel’s doorstep. And guess what? They are closely aligned with Iran and Hezbollah.

Israel has walked this tightrope ever since the Russia-Ukraine war broke out and even before that. That’s why you’ve seen Netanyahu visit Moscow many times in the past few years and meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin, trying to solidify what they call the “deconfliction mechanism” between Israel and Russia.

Israel notifies Russia that they are coming in and will carry out airstrikes against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria. They give them fair warning, and Russia agrees to stand aside deconfliction to make sure that there isn’t some sort of unintentional conflict between Russia and Israel over the skies of Syria. Israel, obviously, wants to maintain that situation and wants to keep things at least civil with Russia to maintain freedom of movement. 

Netanyahu said exactly that last week in an interview that outraged Ukraine. What if, worst case scenario, Russia tries to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria? That day is coming, I believe, when Russia may very well say to Israel that they will no longer permit Israeli airstrikes in Syria against their good friend and ally, Iran.

Israel wants to avoid that kind of situation and avoid getting into a conflict with Russia. Now, I don’t think this is too hard to understand.

Israel has already supported Ukraine, by the way, in several ways. At least $22 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, plans to supply early warning systems for use in the conflict with Russia, and, perhaps most importantly, Israel has gone to bat for Ukraine in international forums, including at the UN, and has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Despite all this, Ukraine continues to push and push, demanding more overt Israeli support and military aid.

Additionally, Netanyahu said last week during the interview:

We also have concerns that any systems that we give to Ukraine would be used against us because they could fall into Iranian hands…

Israel’s concern is Russia sharing captured Israeli technology with Iran and its proxies, which are Israel’s enemies. Israel, understandably, is very cautious on that end. Ukraine essentially responded and called that a ridiculous claim.

What is Ukraine getting at here? They’ve got all of NATO, all of the EU, and the United States behind them; why continue to pressure and prod Israel?

Israel is walking a tightrope where they can’t win either way.

It seems if they come out more fully in support of Ukraine and go all in supplying the Iron Dome or other advanced technology, the result would serve to infuriate Russia causing real problems for Israel in Syria.

On the flip side, Israel stays neutral. Ukraine is furious about it and slams Israel before the eyes of the world. If Israel even meets with Russian officials to maintain contact and civil relations, Ukraine will also blast Israel. Meanwhile, if Israel meets with Ukrainian officials, that angers Russia. Folks, Israel is in a no-win situation.

At the end of the day, Russia is aligned with Israel’s greatest enemy, Iran, a force that wants to wipe Israel off the map. I don’t see how the Israel-Russia relationship can, in the long run, survive the Russian-Iranian alliance. 

Ultimately, who knows what’s going to happen with Israel and Ukraine. We do, however, know the prophetic implications of Israel and Russia. A great betrayal is in the works, where Russia will turn against Israel in a major way, in a prophetic way, as laid out in the war of Gog and Magog, which is described in the book of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. That day is coming, and we see the seeds planted for it now. 

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