Two Israels And the War In Ukraine (A. Zharova)

Updated
2022-04-20

De facto, there are two Israels in the State of Israel that are unlike each other.



In recent years, it has become fashionable in Ukrainian intellectual circles to take Israel as an example. “We really enjoyed comparing Israel to Ukraine; talk about what else we need to do in order to get closer to the role model, ” wrote Sonya Koshkina (Ksenia Vasilenko), editor-in-chief of the LB portal, about this.


However, March brought admirers of the history of Israeli statehood to disappointment. From the very beginning of the war, the current government has been extremely reluctant to accept refugees from Ukraine (even those who have relatives in the first line). And already on March 14, on the 20th day of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Israel imposed a certain restriction on the entry of Ukrainians, and now this case is being considered in the High Court of Justice.


Help varies


Official Jerusalem today deals exclusively with humanitarian aid: a field hospital (worth $6 million), armored ambulances and official medical missions. In total, more than 100 tons of cargo was sent.


But is this enough? The denial of military assistance, “discrimination” against refugees and the reluctance to impose direct sanctions against Russian TV channels and companies have a negative impact on the country's image. Of course, Israel has its own concerns: the Russian presence in Syria and the looming lifting of sanctions on Iran are forcing the Israeli government to wag, creating a background for a backlash from its own citizens, as well as from Western partners and the government of Ukraine.


But there is another Israel, real Israel. Its citizens are collecting aid to the Ukrainians. Their children write letters and put them in parcels that they themselves collect. His business donates its products to Ukraine, and also shares its expertise to develop and launch charity campaigns. This Israel offers its homes to refugees and donates money, joins goodwill missions and becomes a volunteer helping on the borders with Ukraine.


Just a small example of the activities of the fairly influential Israeli organization Israeli Friend of Ukraine. From the very first days of the war, this non-profit NGO began collecting humanitarian aid for Ukraine at more than 30 points in different cities and used 8 warehouses in Israel. The Israelis transferred more than 600,000 shekels (over $180,000) to her accounts. Products, medicines, bandages, first-aid kits, baby food, hygiene products, etc. were sorted, packaged and sent for delivery by air; we are talking about more than 10,000 boxes or 4 aircraft with a total weight of more than 20 tons. The volunteer asset of this one organization alone has grown to 100 people, along with drivers, translators, copywriters and designers - up to five thousand! In addition, they are the organizers of pickets in support of Ukraine, including a rally and broadcast of the speech of President V. Zelensky on March 20, having managed to gather 25,000 caring participants at their actions since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.


So, in “civilian” Israel there is not a single person who has not been touched by the Russian-Ukrainian war on a personal level, emotionally or intellectually. “Tzabarim”, that is, native Israelis, come out on a par with repatriates from Ukraine and other countries of the former USSR to demonstrate, develop campaigns and try to be as useful as possible.


Understanding the reasons


Why is this happening? The occupation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine began back in 2014, but Israel practically did not react to this.


However, I will say that much has changed in Israeli-Ukrainian relations in the last 8 years. After the Euromaidan, a strong volunteer movement arose in Israel, which grew into the creation of a number of public organizations. Trade relations and tourism flourished, and Israeli business was no longer afraid to “enter” Ukraine. In particular, Israeli businessmen have invested heavily in Ukrainian real estate.


It turns out that over the past 8 years, we, the Israelis, did not even notice how we had grown roots in the land of Ukraine and built strong friendly relations on a personal and professional level with Ukrainians. For us, the Israelis (Tzabarim and repatriates), the Russian-Ukrainian war is closer than ever.


I clearly understand the reasons that force official Israel to distance itself from the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians - these are difficult relations with Russia and the presence of its military corps in the Middle East. Israel needs "cooperation" in Syria and Lebanon. Cooperation that has grown into a kind of Russian blackmail.


What can be done?


Civil Israel and Ukrainians are united by the opportunity to demand from official Israel the following decisions:


- open borders for refugees (so far they come here only by invitation)


- take seriously wounded children and women (100-200 people) for treatment


- provide assistance with medicines and medical equipment


- impose sanctions against Russian TV channels in Israel and businesses with a Russian “registration”.


This “minimum program” is quite achievable, because after this war, Israeli politicians will have to answer “where he was and what he did” when the Russians bombed Ukrainian cities, killing children and shooting civilians. Israeli civil activists and organizations have the answer to this question. What about the officials?


Author: CEO of Israeli-Ukrainian Alliance Anna Zharova

Source: Liga.net (in Russian)

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15 years of experience in capital markets, investments, business development

Owner of Israeli-Ukrainian outsourcing company: 400 employees, 5 years of operations, offices in Kharkov and Kiev

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Olha Stoliarchuk

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