Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
29th December, 2015
Petro Poroshenko arrived in Israel, where he met with the Prime Minister, the President, the Patriarch of Jerusalem and addressed the Knesset. He told Israeli politicians that Russia’s actions in Syria could pose a threat to their countries and told about the relationship of Ukrainians and Jews. But despite all his efforts, Israel is not going to give up their friendship with Russia.
Petro Poroshenko continues to seek allies abroad. To this end, the President has conducted a two-day visit to Israel, where he talked about the unstable Middle East, the Russian threat and the role of Jews in establishing the state of Ukraine.
Asking in a brotherly way
Petro Poroshenko arrived in Israel the day before, on December 23rd. The program of the visit of the Ukrainian President was very extensive: in the meeting with the President and Prime Minister of the country, the Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos III, who was with a Ukrainian volunteer who is undergoing treatment in this country. Poroshenko delivered a speech in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. In his speech, the Ukrainian President did not pay attention to Russia.
Moscow’s policy in the Middle East, according to Poroshenko, is likely to harm Israel directly, reports the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post. “Russia supplies Syria systems that can change the balance of power in the region,” he said. In addition, the weapons supplied by Russia to Syria, “may fall into the hands of those who wish to harm Israel”, Poroshenko informed the Knesset.
These “threats” should be studied by the Israeli side, said Poroshenko. “We must act in cooperation, Israeli policy must clearly stand on the side of Ukraine,” said Ukrainian President. Because the country, in his opinion, is so similar. Ukraine is “an outpost of democracy in Eastern Europe, and Israel is the Outpost of democracy in the Middle East”, said Poroshenko.
The Ukrainian President also decided to celebrate the special role of Israel in the creation of Ukraine as such: “the Jews as a nation were direct participants in the creation of this state.” With the opportunity to speak in the Knesset he called a sign of respect and honor not only to himself but also to the “brotherly Ukrainian people of Israel”.
Poroshenko also apologized to the audience for the crimes of the Nazis in the Second world war. “We must remember the negative events of history, the party helped the Nazis… When the Ukraine was formed, we already asked for forgiveness, and I apologize for it now, in the Knesset, in front of the children and grandchildren of Holocaust victims, to all citizens of Israel,” he said.
Also, Poroshenko had a meeting with the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, with whom he discussed bilateral cooperation, reports RIA “Novosti”. “The presidents of the two States reaffirmed their common interest in developing bilateral cooperation in economic trade, science, tourist and humanitarian spheres. The Ukrainian President also expressed hope that the number of Israeli investments in the Ukrainian economy will increase significantly, and assured the President of Israel of Ukraine’s commitment to help Israeli companies who want to enter the market of our country”, – he said in a statement on the presidential website. Poroshenko invited Rivlin for a visit in 2016.
The Ukrainian President met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and even signed several documents of cooperation, including in the sphere of high technologies. Poroshenko noted the need for increased flights between the countries and invited the Prime Minister, previously as President, to visit Ukraine next fall and participate in the events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.
“Israel remains neutral”
“I don’t think Poroshenko came to obtain Israeli citizenship, the President of the Institute of Middle East studies Evgeny Satanovsky ironically said in an interview with the newspaper Look. “Poroshenko’s visits always have the same goal: to get someone to tear off the money, PR, he was swell, what a wonderful democratic Ukraine and how bad Russia is etc… Perhaps he was hoping that Israel will suddenly break off the relationship that she has with Russia, and establish one with Ukraine,” – he suggested. The task for Poroshenko is to ruin relationships around the world with Russia, believes Satanovsky.
The Israeli policy cannot be on any side, the source said. “They are not going to sort out the dispute of the Russian and Ukrainian project because Israel stood up to the years when the Jews of the Soviet Union and Europe were in danger, due to the efforts of all those Bandera people who worked on the strategy, now shared by Poroshenko. Why would the Jewish state begin to take his side?” – said the expert.
He recalled that in Ukraine today there lives some hundreds of thousands of Jews. “In that sense, they are hostages of the inadequate local authorities. Therefore, Israel will not quarrel with Ukraine while Ukraine does not touch the Jews, but to stand on the side of Poroshenko is unlikely,” – said the source. He added that in Israel there are many who sympathize with Ukraine and worry about her, and there are those who sympathize with Russia and also worry about her. There are some who understand what the situation is in reality, and others do not. Official policy of Israel “has been and will remain neutral”. “Israel has its own policy that is guided and carried out. You never know what kind of people will come to Israel”, – concluded the expert.
“Absurd attempts to embroil the two countries”
The former head of the Israeli secret services “Nativ”, the political scientist Yakov Kedmi stated in an interview with the newspaper Look, the reaction of the Israeli society and leadership to Poroshenko’s statement made in the Knesset, was that it was condescending.
“First, none of the major Israeli media, if you look at the Hebrew, even mentions about the visit of Poroshenko in Israel. Major TV channels did not cover this tour at all. To Israel as a state, Israeli people and government, this visit is absolutely not necessary. Israel just did not want to quarrel with the United States. On the eve of the visit of Poroshenko, Netanyahu spoke with Putin, trying to distance himself to this ridiculous and unsuccessful attempt by Poroshenko to embroil the two countries. The head of Ukraine was trying to incite an all out attack on Russia,” said Kedmi.
It was noted that Israel is quietly and in a friendly manner communicate with Russia on the most important issues. “In Israel know perfectly well that the systems s-400 in Syria to protect Russian troops. Not Syria, not Hezbollah, and Russia. Israeli aircraft do not pose a threat to Russia, just like Russian, Israel. Therefore Israel sees no threat in the Russian systems s-400. Under the statements Poroshenko there is no soil, no one listened,” added the expert.
“Russia did not react to the killing of a militant of “Hezbollah” by the Israeli forces a few days ago, reminded Kedmi. And in Israel it is appreciated. It’s quite the right reaction. We did not threaten Russian troops, moreover – I think that this attack was carried out after Israel had informed Russia. In short, Russia’s actions in Syria and the Middle East in general does not pose a threat to Israel. Whatever may be said by Poroshenko, in Israel everyone understands,” said Kedmi.