Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Israel on Sunday March 20 to ” make a choice “ morale, by supporting his country in the face of the Russian invasion it is undergoing. Speaking by videoconference to the Knesset parliamentarians, Mr. Zelensky certainly welcomed the mediation efforts led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, at his instigation, with Moscow. Since his visit to Vladimir Putin on March 5, Mr. Bennett has spoken twice by telephone with the head of the Kremlin, and at least six times with Mr. Zelensky.
However, the Ukrainian president believes that this attempt cannot legitimize the chilly neutrality to which Israel has adhered since the beginning of the war. “It is possible to mediate between two countries, but not between good and evil”, he believes. Facing the parliamentarians, he regrets the government’s refusal to adopt sanctions against Russia, as since October 2021, to supply arms to Ukraine, in particular anti-missile defense systems. “One can ask for a long time why we cannot receive weapons from you or why Israel has not imposed sanctions on Russia, why you do not put pressure on Russian companies… It is your choice, dear brothers and sisters. sisters”, insisted Mr. Zelensky, thus slipping an allusion to his Jewish roots.
The Israeli deputies did not break the break of their sessions, at the end of the Purim holidays, to hear him in extraordinary session. Mr. Zelensky contented himself with a meeting on Zoom. On the merits, he repeated a well-rehearsed exercise, which he has already carried out before the American Congress and the Canadian, British, Polish parliaments and the German Bundestag. It seeks to put pressure on international opinions and denounces governments for their lack of military support. On Sunday, he ended his ten-minute speech on a fear that goes beyond the Israeli case: that of seeing the “apathy” impose itself in the West, in the face of a destructive war for civilians.
However, is it the weight of history that unites his country to the Jewish community, or the mark of his own Jewish origins? Facing the Knesset, Mr. Zelensky’s criticisms are no more harsh than elsewhere, but they are tinged with a kind of bitterness. To Israeli parliamentarians, this president at war gave a risky history lesson, drawing an equivalence between the extermination of the Jews of Europe implemented by the Nazi regime during the Second World War, and the vocabulary of ” final solution “ in front of the “Ukrainian question” that he perceives today in Moscow.
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