JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday called on Israel to join the fight against Russia and repeated a request for Israeli air defence systems.
“Isn’t it time for your state to choose who you are with as well?” Zelenskiy said in a video speech to a conference for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
“Is it with the democratic world, which is fighting side by side against the existential threat to its existence? Or with those who turn a blind eye to Russian terror, even when the cost of continued terror is the complete destruction of global security,” he said.
Israel has condemned the Russian invasion. But it has been wary of straining relations with Moscow, a power broker in neighbouring Syria where Israeli forces frequently attack pro-Iranian militia, and wants to ensure the wellbeing of Russia’s Jews.
Israel, which will choose a new government in an election on Nov. 1, has limited its assistance to deliveries of humanitarian aid and defensive equipment. Most recently it offered to help Ukrainians develop air attack alerts for civilians.
Zelenskiy said that was not enough and asked that Israeli leaders reconsider sending air defenses as well. He has made the same appeal a number of times since the war started in February.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Anna Dabrowska; editing by Jonathan Oatis)