President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized Israel for not doing enough to help Kiev battle Russian forces during an address to the country’s parliament on Sunday. His attempt to evoke the specter of the Holocaust and draw comparisons with the Russian offensive in Ukraine triggered a harsh pushback from Israeli lawmakers.
In a video address to the Knesset, Zelensky claimed that the time had come for the people of Israel to make a clear choice whether they support Ukraine or Russia. The president apparently referred to the position of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has expressed his readiness to facilitate the talks between Kiev and Moscow but, unlike many Western leaders and some of its allies, refrained from imposing harsh sanctions on Moscow or providing military assistance to Kiev. Earlier this week Bennett said that Israel would “continue to act to prevent bloodshed and bring the sides from the battlefield to the conference table.”
“Mediation can be between states, not between good and evil,” Zelensky stated. He backed up his call with the words of the former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, who was born in Ukraine: “We intend to remain alive. Our neighbors want to see us dead. This is not a question that leaves much room for compromise.”