Foreign Policy Paradox: Israel Struggling to Maintain Balance Between Russia and Ukraine

by Eli Mshomi

Israel is facing a double-edged sword in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, where it is neither able to side with Russia nor with Ukraine or the USA’s western alliance due to its close bondage with both of these blocs.

The day when Russian forces attacked Ukraine, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennet made sweeping statements that he wanted to pray for peace in the world as he called the warring nations to come to dialogue without calling out Russia’s name even once.

He just pledged his support for Ukrainian citizens without naming Russian atrocities.

Israel has deep-rooted connections with both Russia and Ukraine

Israel has deep-rooted cultural connections with Ukraine’s Jewish President, but at the same time, it is unable to criticize Russia due to the very fact that it is the primary partner of the Jewish state in the Middle Eastern crisis.

Over time Russia has helped Israel in the likes of Syria to deter Iranian ambitions, which have helped Israel massively in the Middle Eastern crisis that has only swollen over time.

For a significant time frame in 2019, Ukrainian was the only country other than Israel with both the president and the Prime Minister as a Jew.

This helped Israel to make cultural connections with the country under invasion by Russia right now.

But the problem of Israel does not end even after remaining neutral in the crisis. This is due to the fact that Russia has warned every other country not to intervene in its ambitions, calling out that anyone doing so would be facing unprecedented consequences.

However, the Ukrainian Prime Minister asked Israel to mediate in the situation, hence pushing the country between a rock and a hard place.

Israel also wants not to go the route of creating antisemitism against thousands of Jews living in Russia and Ukraine combined.

At the same time, Israeli politicians have to make a tough choice as 12 percent of its electorate belongs to the Russian-speaking population, considering the fact that over 1.2 million people reached Israel in the last three decades alone by the former Soviet Union roughly equal from both Russia and Ukraine.

Russia, Ukraine, and America all are Equally important countries for Israel

While in the long run, Israel may envision having no support of Russia in Syria due to the very fact that the United States is also a major adversary of Russia and an all-weather friend of Israel.

America has funded Israel so much that the Jewish nation cannot even think to step away from it just to please Russia.

However, Russian military influence in Syria is arising, which is crucial for Israel, and it is only expected to rise in the near future.

The state of art communication system between the two countries is up to the mark as the forces of both countries communicate with each other using special technology located in the bonkers of Tel Aviv and western Russia.

Thus Israel will eventually need Moscow’s support to deter Iran in the Middle East, which is extremely critical for Israel’s significance in the region.

But seeing the current developments, Israel can soon start facing a tough time as it is continuously rejecting Ukraine’s request for military assistance, a policy consistent with western efforts where even Israel’s best friend America has helped Ukraine in getting themselves equipped with military gadgets.

The Jewish nation has even refused to sell its spyware program Pegasus to Ukraine even though it is selling the same system to many other nations at the same time.

But this is not because Israel does not want these programs in the hands of Ukraine. In fact, Israel is pushing its private firms to sell modern-day communication software to Ukraine, and it approved 100-ton medical and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine.

 

Final Thoughts

The United States does not seem to be happy with Israel either. Meanwhile, Israeli Russian-speaking people are also divided into political lines where some of them have gone too far to go to Ukraine to defend their country personally.

This is the foreign policy paradox being faced by Israel right now, as it continues gasping with contradictory foreign policy choices again and again.

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