Volodymyr Zelensky slams Israel for refusing to sanction Russia

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Volodymyr Zelensky also recalled the historical ties between Ukraine and Israel.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stepped up his criticism of Israel’s refusal to sanction Russia on Thursday, during a speech by the Jewish leader at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Zelensky’s speech four months into Russia’s war on Ukraine comes amid a fresh political crisis in Israel that will likely see Naftali Bennett replaced as prime minister by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in A few days.

Bennett refrained from criticizing the Russian invasion and underscored Israel’s close ties to Moscow and Kyiv as his administration failed to impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.

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Days after the February 24 invasion, Lapid condemned Russia’s actions as a “violation of world order.”

Israeli commentators said their contrasting rhetoric was coordinated to safeguard Israeli neutrality.

Zelenksy, who has family in Israel and has visited the country several times, told Hebrew University in a video address that he struggled to understand the Jewish state’s soft approach to Russia.

“How can you not help the victims of such aggression,” Zelensky said, lamenting Israel’s refusal to offer military aid to Ukraine.

“I don’t know how to answer the questions I always get about how Israel has helped and what else Israel can do.

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“I am grateful to the people of Israel. I am grateful for the sincere and emotional support for the people of Ukraine…but we would also like to get the support of your government,” he added.

The Israeli government and major relief organizations have sent humanitarian and medical aid to Ukraine, but arms supplies have remained out of the picture.

Zelensky also recalled the historic ties between Ukraine and Israel, a message he underscored in a March speech to Israeli lawmakers.

In his Thursday speech, Zelensky noted that former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir’s childhood home in Kyiv was “five minutes” from her presidential office.

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“Please remember how connected we are, how close our ties are, what the level of understanding between us should be,” he said.

“Why do we have this miscommunication, this misunderstanding with government officials, I don’t know.”

Israel has so far taken a cautious diplomatic line on the Ukraine conflict in part to preserve Russian cooperation in Syria, where Israel regularly carries out airstrikes with the tacit acceptance of Moscow, which has forces in the country.

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