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March 14, 2022 10:14 am

Israel Will Not Serve as Route to ‘Bypass’ Biting World Sanctions on Russia: Lapid

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (second left) visiting the Siret border crossing between Ukraine and Romania. Photo: Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Israel will not be used to circumvent sanctions levied on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid pledged during a visit in Slovakia.

“Israel will not be a route to bypass sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western countries,” Lapid stated. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coordinating the issue together with partners including the Bank of Israel, the Finance Ministry, the Economy Ministry, the Airports Authority, the Energy Ministry, and others.”

In a Friday interview with Israel’s Channel 12 news, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland had urged the Jewish state to do as much as possible to join the Western sanctions effort — lest it become the “last haven for dirty money” fueling Russia’s war.

Lapid’s announcement was later welcomed by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who said the UK is “working with our allies and partners to apply pressure on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and challenge his unprovoked and needless attack on Ukraine.”

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As part of a tour of countries neighboring Ukraine, the Israeli foreign minister on Monday met his Slovakian Ivan Korčok at the Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs in the capital of Bratislava, to discuss the ongoing cooperation at the Vyšné Nemecké crossing between Ukraine and Slovakia to make it easier for Jews and Israelis remaining in areas of conflict to leave.

“We are focused on the effort to assist the Ukrainian people, and refugees from the war,” Lapid said. “Israel and Slovakia are cooperating in getting humanitarian aid into Ukrainian territory.”

This month, Israel sent over 100 tons of medical equipment, generators, and other goods into Ukraine.

Lapid reiterated Israel’s condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and called for an end to the fighting.

“There is no justification for violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and there is no justification for attacks on a civilian population,” Lapid stated. “Israel will do everything it can to assist mediation efforts, to stop the shooting and restore peace.”

Separately, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak commended Israel for its ongoing mediation efforts, writing on Facebook that the Jewish state has “taken on the difficult but noble mission of mediating the search for peace and ending Russia’s aggression.”

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced on Sunday that there will be no cap on the number of non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees with a relative in Israel to enter the country. The change in refugee policy applies to individuals who do not qualify for Israel’s Law of Return, which allows the immigration of anyone with a Jewish grandparent.

Yermak also thanked the Israeli government for the “joint diplomatic efforts” which led to the change in the refugee policy.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reaffirmed Monday that “Ukrainians can stay with family as long as need be, until the situation calms down.”

“We are partners in the major humanitarian effort,” he added

Additionally, Israel is preparing for the start of a large wave of Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. Some 100,000 new immigrants may arrive as a result of the conflict, under the auspices of Israel’s Law of Return.

“We will give our brothers and sisters the warmest welcome hug,” Bennett said. “We have a duty not to let them down and to take care of them with housing, education, and employment.”

Editor’s note: this article has been updated

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