Photo Credit: Flash90
Sheba medical center employees in a field hospital that was sent to Ukraine in March 8, 2022.

Here’s some unbiased Sunday morning reporting courtesy of The Washington Post (Ukrainian Jews grapple with Israel’s tepid support as Iran aids Russia):

“After praying on a recent Shabbat in Kyiv’s oldest synagogue, David, 56 … fumed when asked about Israel, his home for more than two decades, and about its limited support for Ukraine — a stance that seems increasingly odd given the deepening alliance between Russia and Iran, whose leaders have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and are supporting Moscow’s war effort by supplying drones and missiles.


“’Ukraine has the right to criticize the Israeli government about the lack of support,’ said David, who requested that he be identified only by his first name to protect himself and his family, including relatives in Russia.”

There’s this, too:

“Israel’s stance has drawn the ire of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who specifically requested Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome air defense system. Zelensky, who is Jewish, has invoked the Holocaust when asking for help — angering Israeli leaders, who rebuked him for the comparison.”

If you’re a frequent reader of our newspaper, you know that Israel has provided Ukraine with more humanitarian aid than most other countries, including the establishment of an entire field hospital. You also know that Israel has sheltered thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees. But Israel cannot provoke the Russians, whose military mission is camped north of Israel’s border, in Syria, by sending Ukraine military equipment.

The WP article gives tacit acknowledgment of Israel’s predicament: “Israeli leaders have declined to provide weapons or defense systems to Ukraine and refused to join Western economic sanctions for fear of jeopardizing its security relationship with Russia. … The Kremlin allows Israeli aircraft to target Iranian arms shipments over Russian-controlled airspace in Syria, which Israel regards as critical to its national defense.”

But these considerations of Israel’s national security are pushed aside with a delusional argument from Dan Fried, a former security adviser to presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. After noting that hundreds of Iranian drones are being used by Russia to target Ukraine and that Iran will be building these weapons on Russian soil, the newspaper cites Fried who says: “What is Russia promising or implying to Iran is a quid pro quo. Israel’s apparent short-term calculations don’t seem consistent with its long-term strategy of aligning itself with Europe and the United States. What are they thinking?”

The WP even went to US special envoy on antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt, who won’t comment on Israeli decisions, but said that “as Hanukkah approaches, what’s happening in Ukraine ‘has a very strong resonance’ within the Jewish community in the United States.”

Maybe, although why the children of Holocaust survivors in the US and Israel should feel this way about the children of the perpetrators of the same Holocaust may be another fruit of the Ukrainian propaganda campaign. What’s missing from the equation are broken American promises to post-Soviet Russia not to admit into NATO former Soviet allies such as Poland, Hungary, and Romania. Admitting Ukraine would have been the last straw, stretching the Western alliance to Russia’s borders.

Nachman Dyksztejn, 45, also after his Shabbat prayers in Kyiv (did they go to only one shul?) defended Israel’s actions, pointed out that “Ukraine voted several times against Israel this year at the United Nations, including on a measure related to the Palestinian territories. Israel last month then abstained from a UN vote on whether Russia should pay war reparations.” About the Ukrainians’ unabashed demands for Israeli military support, he said: “Ukraine needs it because Ukraine needs it. But Israel cannot take the risk.”

Now, here’s a paragraph that would have fit an early 1950s JTA report: “Feelings were also mixed at Tiferet Matzah in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, where roughly 70 Jews work at Europe’s biggest manufacturer of the unleavened bread eaten during Passover,” where Daniel Synchvkov, 31, said, as he punched holes in the dough on the matzoh assembly line: “It does not matter what you are — if you are a Jew, Christian, Tartar, whatever — everyone here thinks every country on the planet, not just Israel, should do whatever they can to stop this war.”

Oh, and the WP reported that at a Shabbat minyan behind the Great Choral Synagogue in Kyiv (they couldn’t heat the main sanctuary because of Russian rocket attacks), “at one point, Rabbi David Goldich uttered an obscenity about Putin while holding the Kiddush cup.”

There’s a proper Jewish response!


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