(With thanks to Brother Roger Long)
Establishing a measure of cooperation with Moscow over Syria has allowed the Israeli government to continue operations against Iranian-backed groups such as Hezbollah. Thus, the Israeli response to the crisis in Ukraine has been quite low-key, sending humanitarian help to Kyiv, but refusing to dispatch military aid or participate in the international sanctions against Moscow.
Even so, in the early part of the war Russian diplomats turned on Israel for constructing new cities in the Golan Heights. Then, earlier this month the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, caused outrage by making disparaging remarks about President Zelensky of Ukraine, suggesting that he is a “Nazi”, despite being Jewish; he also asserted that Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood”. The Israeli government made clear that it was appalled by the remarks and the head of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Dani Dayan, commented:
“Lavrov deals with the reversal of the Holocaust: turning the victims into criminals, based on the promotion of a completely unfounded claim that Hitler was of Jewish descent” (Daily Telegraph, May 5).
It was subsequently reported that President Putin had apologized for Lavrov’s remarks, but the incident illustrates the fragility of the relationship between the two states and as Russia becomes more aggressive – notwithstanding the setbacks in Ukraine – the invasion of “the glorious land” as foretold by the prophets draws closer.