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Russia blasts Israeli ambassador’s criticism of Moscow’s ties with Iran and Hamas

Israeli Ambassador to Russia Simona Halperin submits her credentials to RussianDeputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov, Jan. 1, 2024 (Photo: Simona Halperin/X)

The Russian Foreign Ministry decided to formally reprimand Israeli Ambassador to Russia Simona Halperin for what Moscow considers “unacceptable comments” about Russia's foreign policies.

Halperin criticized the Russian government’s close ties to the Iranian regime and its terror proxy Hamas.

"I think the Russian leadership does not fully understand that since October 7 we are in a new and terrible reality," Halperin stated in an interview with Kommersant daily news agency.

"Hamas, with the support of Iran, carried out an inhumane attack. Some time passed before Russia publicly condemned the attack, called it an 'act of terrorism' and mentioned Hamas," the Israeli ambassador added.

Halperin warned that Russia is currently losing support among Israelis, including Russian-speaking Israelis due to Moscow’s pro-Iranian and pro-Hamas policy.

"The Russian position worries and disappoints me – your country is losing the sympathy of Israelis, including Russian speakers."

Like Israel and the West, Russia has also experienced Islamist terrorism. The Israeli envoy criticized Moscow for excluding Hamas from its list of outlawed terrorist organizations.

“You have a list of terrorist organizations whose activities in Russia are prohibited,” Halperin told the Russian news outlet. “Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – why isn't it on the list?” the Israeli ambassador asked.

The Israeli ambassador also blasted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for seeking to diminish the importance of the Holocaust of six million Jews during World War II. Unlike most Western democracies, Russia does not commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27, despite the fact that Jan. 27, 1945, marks the liberation of the Nazi Death Camp Auschwitz by Soviet forces.

Russian-Israeli bilateral ties have deteriorated significantly since the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine began in early 2022. While Israel initially tried to maintain a neutral position, Jerusalem has increasingly embraced the U.S.-led Western position that openly supports Ukraine’s right to self-defense against Russia.

Russia has responded by embracing Israel’s enemies in the Middle East, in particular, Iran and its terror proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. Russia and Iran have developed close military ties, which threaten both Israel, Ukraine and the West.

In late October, mere weeks after the Hamas’ massacre of over 1,200 people on Israel's southern border communities, Russia hosted a senior Hamas delegation in Moscow alongside Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani. The Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem responded by blasting Moscow for whitewashing Hamas’ atrocities and crimes against humanity on Oct. 7.

In November, amid Israel's ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza, the Russian UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya claimed the Jewish state does not have the right to self-defense as an “occupying power,” ignoring the fact that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

“The only thing they can muster is continued pronouncements about Israel’s supposed right to self-defense, although as an occupying power, it does not have that power as confirmed by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice handed down in 2004,” the Russian ambassador argued.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin developed close ties in the past. However, during a phone conversation in December between the two leaders, Netanyahu criticized Russia’s anti-Israel position at the United Nations, as well as Russia’s close ties with Iran and Hamas, which openly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

“The prime minister expressed his annoyance over anti-Israel stances by Russian representatives at the United Nations and other fora,” the Prime Minister’s Office announced after the phone call between Netanyahu and Putin.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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