Israel votes in favor of UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion, calls for an immediate withdrawal of all forces from Ukraine
Syria opposed the resolution, Iran abstained; Prime Minister Bennett held back-to-back calls with Putin and Zelenskyy, as Israel sends humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but not weapons
Israel, along with 140 other nations, joined in support of a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The 193-member body is calling on Moscow to immediately withdraw all forces from Ukraine. The Jewish state is among 94 countries that co-sponsored the historic initiative and added their names to a letter by the Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, in which he called for a rare emergency session to adopt the draft resolution.
The resolution is not legally binding, but it reflects a collective international unity against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Only five of the 181 nations present for the vote opposed the measure, among them Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria. Also 35 nations abstained on the resolution, including authoritarian regimes such as China, Cuba and Iran.
Israel’s U.S. Ambassador, Michael Herzog, announced on Tuesday that Israel would back the resolution, as part of a recent shift from an earlier attempt to balance support for Ukraine, given Israel’s ties to the Kremlin and coordination in Syria.
“As FM @yairlapid reiterated and we articulated to our American friends: Israel believes in upholding the international order and undeniably supports Ukraine, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity,” Herzog wrote on Twitter.
As FM @yairlapid reiterated and we articulated to our American friends: Israel believes in upholding the international order and undeniably supports Ukraine, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.— Ambassador Michael Herzog (@AmbHerzog) March 2, 2022
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote earlier in the week that “Israel was and will be on the right side of history.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke on the phone with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday – their second call since the beginning of the conflict. A few hours later, Bennett spoke with Putin at Israel's request, according to the Kremlin. Putin told Bennett that the key to ending the crisis is to safeguard Russia's security interests, according to a readout of the call, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. The leaders agreed to stay in touch.
Israel has offered to mediate between Russia and Ukraine on several occasions and Zelenskyy reportedly asked to hold talks in Jerusalem, but so far no proposal has been accepted.
Ukraine has asked Israel for protective gear and weapons for its military, but so far Israel’s support has been limited to 100 tons of humanitarian aid.
According to Lapid, three Israeli planes departed to Ukraine carrying emergency gear which included thousands of coats, blankets, sleeping bags, medical equipment, tents, and water purification sets. Israeli Foreign Ministry officials posted images of survival kits packaged and assembled on the Polish border just before ground delivery to Ukraine.
חמ״ל פולין בגבול אוקראינה; אנשינו מכינים ערכות להתמודדות עם מזג האוויר הקר עבור הממתינים במעבר הגבול. גם זו דיפלומטיה, הדאגה ליהודים וישראלים בכל מקום. במקביל, מועבר היום סיוע הומניטרי נרחב מישראל לאוקראינה. pic.twitter.com/SeQnABYHat— Alon Ushpiz (@AlonUshpiz) March 2, 2022
Bennett uploaded a photo of 100 Ukrainian orphans that were rescued and exited the war-torn country via the border with Romania. “The children will soon have a new life in Israel,” the Prime Minister said.
מעל 100 יתומים יהודים חולצו מאוקראינה דרך הגבול עם רומניה ובקרוב יזכו בחיים חדשים בישראל.— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) March 1, 2022
אחד מאינספור סיפורים שאני שומע בימים האחרונים על מסירות והצלת נפשות של ממש מתוך התופת באוקראינה. >> pic.twitter.com/gCaj296YK6
The Ukrainian president pleaded with Jews around the world in a statement that was issued on Wednesday, then translated to Hebrew. “I am now addressing the Jews of the world: don’t you see what is happening?” Zelenskyy asked. “That is why it is very important that millions of Jews around the world do not remain silent now.”
“Nazism is born in silence, so shout about the killing of civilians, of Ukrainians,” he appealed.
Below is a copy of the UN resolution.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.