image Photo: Reuters

Lapid: “Israel on right side of history” in Ukraine crisis

Israel will co-sponsor and support a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a vote at the United Nations expected later today.

By Erin Viner

Jerusalem’s approval of the resolution, “together with a decisive majority of the world’s countries,” was announced by Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid, who also serves as Alternate Premier.

While underscoring that the Jewish State has “a moral, historical and ethical obligation” to join international efforts to assist the people of Ukraine, the top diplomat confirmed that Israel’s shipment of 100 tons of emergency aid. Thousands of coats, blankets, and sleeping bags, medical equipment, tents, and water purification equipment are among the critically-needed items that were flown out of Ben Gurion International Airport today.

Jerusalem’s stance on Kyiv comes despite of potential fall-out over it’s tenuous ties with Moscow.

Minister Lapid said that an inter-ministerial team has been formed to determine possible “effects and consequences” international sanctions on Russia may have on the Israeli economy and policy.

“Israel has been and will be on the right side of history. Those are our values. Our most important ally has been and will be the United States, but our American partners also understand there are two points that we need to be mindful of and require us to be careful,” stressed Lapid, in a statement obtained from the Israeli Ministry of Affairs (MFA).

First, he said, “Israel effectively has a security border with Russia” because it “is the most significant military power in Syria, and our cooperation mechanism with them assists in our determined battle against Iranian entrenchment on our northern border.”

Next, is the presence in Ukraine of thousands of Israelis and about 180,000 people eligible to immigrate to the Jewish State, he said. At least 4,000 Israelis have already left the East European nation with the MFA’s assistance.

“We are obligated to a sacrosanct commitment that we will do everything to not leave any Israeli behind, or any Jew behind. This is why there is a Jewish state. It’s our obligation,” the Israeli leader emphasized.

Saying that “Israelis and Jews are part of a wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees” of a wave that is increasing daily, Lapid commended his Ministry for managing “one of the most complicated operations in the history of Israel.”

One of the MFA staffer working at the Medyka crossing on the Ukraine-Poland border was among many others who haven’t slept for 48 hours, said the Minister.

The fundamental principle of the massive organizational, diplomatic and political effort “is clear: we are taking care of Israelis, we are taking care of Jews, and our hearts are with the citizens of Ukraine,” underscored Lapid.

Meanwhile, the first Israeli casualty of the crisis has been confirmed.

42-year-old Roman Brodsky was fatally shot to death at a checkpoint by Ukrainian forces who apparently misidentified him as a Russian combatant in the city of Bila Tserkva, 84 km (52 miles) south of Kyiv. Brodsky was reportedly traveling in a vehicle convoy en route to a crossing into neighboring Moldova at the time of the incident.

The MFA issued a statement expressing “sincere condolences to the family in its difficult time and will continue to assist the family as much as possible.” The Ministry is now working to bring Brodky’s wife, who was also wounded during the shooting and still stranded in Ukraine with the couple’s two children, to Israel.

“I was saddened to receive the bitter news about the death of Roman Brodsky, an Israeli citizen, in Ukraine,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a statement, adding, “On behalf of all citizens of Israel, I want to send my condolences to his wife, children, and family in Israel and in Ukraine. We are continuing to do everything to help Israelis return home.”

Brodsky immigrated to Israel at the age of 13 but had returned to work in Ukraine in recent years. His father Efim and stepmother, who live in Israel, told local media that he had been trying to return home, and they are now attempting to bring back his body for burial.