With Israel seeking to eradicate Hamas’ presence in Gaza, while defending itself from various pro-Iranian proxies, including Hezbollah and Houthis, as well as the threat, coming from Syria, the country has a natural interest to improve relations with Russia due to its vast influence in the Middle East. Moscow played a decisive role in defeating ISIS and some other jihadist groups in Syria and also has the ability to rein in Iran’s aggressive ambitions in case it gets something in return for it. Eliyahu Yerushalmi, a retired Israeli diplomat, who served as an ambassador to Armenia and Moldova, says Jerusalem is now facing pressure from the U.S. and Ukraine to take sides in the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, but has to resist, if it wants to use Kremlin’s sway to deter the Iranian threat.

‘Ukraine says we should be pro-Ukraine, because the whole West is pro-Ukraine and Israel is a part of the West. Even the Americans are a little bit angry at us for not being on the side of Ukraine’ — he said.

Yet caving into these demands will inevitably push Russia even closer to Iran, meaning Israel won’t be able to use the country’s mediation in order to protect its northern borders, which are constantly being attacked through Lebanese and Syrian territory. Instead, Yerushalmi argues sticking to neutrality policy especially considering the fact Israel fights its own war right now and needs to focus on winning it, rather than interfering in essentially a diplomatic dead-end. He also points out, that currently Israel has no ability to promote the talks linking Putin and Zelenskyy, even though Jerusalem had the potential to do so before the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7th.

‘Earlier Israel was in a super-position to negotiate between Ukraine and Russia, but since then we now have enough of our own problems. Now the whole situation is very, very delicate, so Israel is trying to stay as neutral, as it can vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine. It is in our best interests to come back to friendly relations with Russia to make it less active against us in our war, where we feel, that Russia is tilting towards the side of our enemies’ — the expert believes.

He sees no other option to end the war in Ukraine, but to hold reasonable and mature peace dialogue between the parties. The initiation of this process is crucial to solving food insecurity in Africa, normalising a steady course of the global economy and shifting Washington’s attention and resources back to Israel, rather than endlessly giving them to Ukraine. Apart from all of that, both Russians and Ukrainians have a lot of cultural similarities and common values, so establishing some sort of a compromise minding the situation on the ground would be a positive scenario for the whole international community, Yerushalmi reminds.

‘There’s no doubt the Istanbul agreements are the way to go. Eventually both Ukraine and Russia being the world’s leading wheat suppliers will have to get along, meaning this conflict is just causing troubles in African countries, which need Ukrainian and Russian agriculture. If this thing stops, it’s a win-win situation for everybody. In Israel, for instance, many people don’t understand, why this war is going on in the first place. What’s the difference between Ukraine and Russia? They’ve been a one country during the days of the Soviet Union. Even the languages are the same and the cultures are the same, so we don’t understand the war’ — he concluded.

Поделитесь новостью