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November 7, 2022 5:13 pm

Zelensky Calls For Closer Ties With Israel as New Government Forms

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a news conference, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 23, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a pitch for closer security ties with Israel on Monday, saying both countries faced similar threats.

“I think it is clear to everyone what Ukraine emphasizes and the security emphasis of Israel,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address after a conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu, the winner in last week’s Israeli election.

“I believe we can significantly strengthen our states, especially since the threats we have are related.”

Zelensky has called on Israel for weeks to provide arms, particularly air defense systems, for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

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At the end of October, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed frustration with the former government of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, insisting that Russia’s use of Iranian-manufactured drones against Ukrainian population centers was reason enough for Israel to supply his country with arms. Israel has so far limited its intervention in Ukraine to an extensive humanitarian relief operation and some intelligence sharing, but fear of the Russian military presence in next door Syria has put a brake on further action on the part of Jerusalem.

The prospect of a right-wing government in Israel headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has been greeted cautiously in Ukraine, whose democratic government has frequently appealed to Israeli leaders to supply weaponry to combat the ongoing Russian invasion.

“I hope that the Israeli government will start supplying weapons to Ukraine. We need to work with the Israeli government, to convince it,” Oleksandr Merezhko — head of the Ukrainian parliament’s foreign affairs committee — told local media earlier this month. “There are many friends of Ukraine in Israel, and we need to mobilize their support in order to convince the government.”

Yigal Levin — a former IDF officer and Israeli military analyst — told the Ukrainian-language service of the BBC earlier this month that Netanyahu’s course of action was unclear, but pointed to the fact that a key Netanyahu ally, former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, had recently visited Ukraine, where he denounced Russia’s “unprovoked war” and declared that “we should be on the side of Ukraine.”


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