Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Thursday that if world leaders don’t act, the situation in Ukraine “can get much worse.”
Bennett made the statement during a conversation with high-tech entrepreneur Dr. Michal Mor at the Cybertech Global TLV 2022 conference at the Tel Aviv Convention Center.
“I participated in five or six different conflicts as a soldier, a commander and later as a security cabinet member. It’s just a horrible thing,” Bennett said.
“We in Israel have had our fair share of wars, and I can tell you one big lesson: Wars are easy to start and very difficult to finish.
“Things are looking bad on the ground right now, but it’s important to understand that if world leaders don’t act quickly it can get much worse.
“I’m talking about untold loss of life, total destruction of Ukraine, millions of refugees and it’s not too late. It’s the responsibility of the major players in the world to act rapidly to get the two sides out of the battlefield and on to the negotiation table,” Bennett warned.
Bennett held two separate conversations on Wednesday evening, with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – the second set of such conversations since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Bennett’s office stated that the conversation with Zelensky was a follow-up to Friday’s conversation and noted that it was initiated by the Ukrainian leader.
Zelensky described the conversation with Bennett as being about “Russian aggression.” It was was one of several the Ukrainian president held Wednesday with world leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Bennett’s conversation with Russia’s president took place later in the evening. The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the call took place but did not reveal its contents.
The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin discussed “the special military operation to protect Donbas” and “outlined Russia’s position on the terms for ending the conflict, including Ukraine’s demilitarization and de-Nazification,” and that Israel had initiated the call.
Seven hundred Jews from Ukraine have arrived so far at Aliyah processing centers in countries border Ukraine, run by The Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).
The future immigrants are escorted from the border to temporary housing facilities where they receive their visas to Israel, an Israeli government spokesperson said. From there, they are being flown to Israel, where they will stay in hotels across the country for about a month in an operation coordinated by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration.
“After that point, the new immigrants will be transferred to their permanent residences, located in communities throughout Israel,” the spokesperson said.
The first three flights, carrying 200 immigrants plus an additional 100 orphans, is set to arrive in the Jewish State this coming Sunday, March 6.