Ukraine’s Zelensky asks Israeli leaders: ‘Can you explain why we’re still waiting for help?’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Sergei Supinsky - AFP)

Stuti Mishra

The Independent  /  March 21, 2022 

Ukrainian president addressed Israeli lawmakers via video conference on Sunday. 

Volodymyr Zelensky has hit out at the Israeli government for not standing unequivocally on Ukraine’s side since Russian forces invaded the country last month.

The Ukrainian president addressed Israeli lawmakers for nine minutes via video conference on Sunday.

Mr Zelensky, who is Jewish, repeatedly invoked the Holocaust and compared the plight of Ukraine under Russian assault to that of European Jews under the Nazis.

During the emotionally charged address, Mr Zelensky criticized Israel for failing to help his country with arms, impose sanctions on Russia or open its doors wider to refugees.

“I’m sure you feel our pain, but can you explain why we’re still waiting… for your help… when other countries are giving help? Why isn’t Israeli help, or even entry permits, forthcoming?” Mr Zelensky asked. “What is it? Indifference? Political calculation? Mediation without choosing sides?”

“I’ll leave you to provide the answers to these questions, but I want to point out that indifference kills,” he said.

The president added: “Calculations can be wrong. You can mediate between countries, but not between good and evil. You need to provide answers to these questions and live with them.”

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not a military operation as it’s presented in Moscow,” Mr Zelensky told the Israeli lawmakers. “It is an all-out war, illegitimate, intended to destroy our people, our country, our cities, our culture and our children. Everything that makes Ukrainians Ukrainians.”

“The Russians use the terminology of the Nazi party, they want to destroy everything. The Nazis called this ‘the final solution to the Jewish question’,” he said. “And now… in Moscow… they’re using those words, ‘the final solution.’ But now it’s directed against us and the Ukrainian question.”

The address, attended by an overwhelming majority of legislators, received mixed responses, with some lauding his efforts and others criticizing him and calling the comparison with the holocaust “outrageous”.

Several members, mostly on the right-wing, said Mr Zelensky overlooked the role that some Ukrainians had played in the Nazi genocide of Jews.

Local media reported that Israel is unlikely to change its policy against Russia, a long-term ally of the country, but may seek to use its unique position to broker an agreement between the two sides.

On 24 February, Russian president Vladimir Putin launched what the Kremlin has called a “special military operation” in Ukraine to “de-militarize” and “de-Nazify” the country.

The UN has confirmed at least 902 civilian deaths in the war, and said that more than 10 million people had now been displaced across Ukraine.

Stuti Mishra – journalist


‘We face the same threat’: Zelensky says it’s time for Israel to back Ukraine

The Palestine Chronicle  /  March 21, 2022

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday urged Israel to abandon its neutrality over Russia’s military operation, saying the time had come for the Jewish state to firmly back his country, The New Arab reported.

Zelensky, who is Jewish, made the appeal during an address to Israeli lawmakers, the latest in a series of speeches by videoconference to foreign legislatures.

Zelensky said Ukraine and Israel face the same threat from their respective enemies — “the total destruction of our people, our state, our culture, even the name: Ukraine, Israel.”

In remarks that at several points compared Russian aggression to the Holocaust, Zelensky said that “Ukraine made the choice to save Jews 80 years ago.”

“Now it’s time for Israel to make its choice,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has walked a careful diplomatic line since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.

Stressing Israel’s strong ties to Moscow and Kyiv, Bennett has sought to preserve delicate security cooperation with Russia, which has troops in Syria, across Israel’s northern border.

Israel has provided humanitarian support to Ukraine but has so far rebuffed Kyiv’s requests for military assistance.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)