Israel Is Not at Fault for Iran Sending Its Drones to Russia

October 28, 2022 | Jerusalem Post
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Earlier this week, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated complaints that Jerusalem has not provided his country with military assistance, and in particular that it has not shared its sophisticated missile-defense systems. Zelensky claimed, moreover, that Israel’s reluctance to send weapons resulted in Tehran providing Moscow with the drones it is now using to attack his country. On Wednesday, he changed his tune somewhat, thanking Israel for its recent sharing of vital intelligence. The editors of the Jerusalem Post take issue with the initial accusations:

Russia has been working with Iran for decades on defense technology, from missiles to air defense. Russia has even helped Iran to expand its nuclear-power program through expanding capacity at the Bushehr nuclear plant.

The main weapons Russia used against Ukraine since February, destroying villages and massacring civilians, have been Russian-made. Moscow’s decision to acquire thousands of Iranian drones is a new dangerous stage in the Moscow-Tehran partnership, but it is not because of Israel that Russia has relied on Iran and there is no evidence Israel could have prevented this partnership.

Israel has supported Ukraine since the war began; with humanitarian aid and also in international forums and through joining Western countries in condemning Russia’s invasion. It is true Israel has not sent air defenses to Ukraine. Western countries have also been slow to provide Ukraine with air defenses; many advanced systems, such as the Patriot system, have not been sent to Kyiv. [Furthermore], there is no evidence that Israel could have supplied Ukraine with [its] advanced systems, such as David’s Sling, Iron Dome, or Arrow; and it’s not clear even that these systems are appropriate for Kyiv.

Ukraine was careful in the past not to side too closely with Israel as it balanced its relations in the Middle East. Israel, too, was careful to balance its relations. Does Israel stand with Ukraine? Yes. Does that mean it needs to do everything Kyiv wants? No.

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