Israel has rejected a request from the United States to send its half-century-old Homing All the Way Killer (HAWK) anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, according to Axios and Fox News.
The missiles, which have been in storage for years, were purchased from the United States in the 1960s. They were taken out of service in Israel about 10 years ago. The US took their HAWK system out of service in 2002.
The HAWK system is the predecessor to Patriot missile defense system made by Raytheon Technologies. Israel still has around 10 HAWK batteries, and hundreds of the system’s interceptor missiles, according to Axios.
But Israel has vowed since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine not to provide weapons systems to Kyiv.
“The policy of the security echelon has not changed. Each request is examined on its merits. Beyond that, we do not refer to additional details,” an Israeli defense ministry spokesperson told Fox News.
The request – and its rejection – came a week after the US announced the transfer of thousands of artillery shells to Ukraine from its stockpile in the Jewish State.
Last October, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that Spain would send four medium-range HAWK air defense systems to Ukraine. Madrid has since sent more HAWK systems to Ukraine as well.
Why Israel Won’t Poke the Russian Bear
Israel declines to send lethal military aid to Ukraine due to its security concerns vis a vis Russia’s control of the skies in Syria and the presence of a large Jewish community in the country.
Up to this point, Russia has allowed the Israel Air Force to attack Iranian positions in Syrian territory in order to prevent establishment by Tehran of a firm military foothold across Israel’s northern border.
Iran has repeatedly, for years, vowed to wipe Israel off the map.
Israel is also concerned that any action against Moscow could affect the security of the large Jewish community that remains in Russia.
Incoming Israeli Government Contacts Russia
After incoming Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen took office, he held a call with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Although such a contact is customary following the start of a new government, Ukraine was unhappy with the move, claiming that Israel appeared to working towards a policy change in its diplomatic relations with Russia.
The accusation was made because the previous Israeli foreign minister had not made contact with his Russian counterpart since the start of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Israeli FM Accepts Invitation to Visit Ukraine
Nevertheless, last week Cohen also accepted an invitation to visit Ukraine. When and if he travels to Kyiv, Cohen would be the most senior Israeli government official to visit the war-torn country since the start of the war.
In addition, Israel’s foreign ministry announced last week that it will permanently reopen its embassy in Kyiv within the next 60 days, despite the risks.
Israeli Aid Sent to Ukraine
Israel – a country the size of New Jersey — has continued to provide hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid to Kyiv since the start of Russia’s invasion and throughout the conflict.
Israel Sends 17 Powerful Generators to Ukraine
Such aid has included food, more than a million dollars in medical equipment, medicine, emergency equipment, winter clothing, training and a temporary field hospital.
Israel most recently sent 17 powerful generators to help keep Ukraine’s hospitals and water infrastructure working in the Kherson area.
Ukraine’s Response to Israeli Aid
Ukraine has been less than appreciative in response to Israel’s efforts to assist its besieged population, with its ambassador to Israel repeatedly criticizing the Jewish State for not doing enough, and in the international arena as well.
At the United Nations Kyiv has consistently voted for resolutions against the Jewish State.
In November 2022, Ukraine voted for a draft resolution approved by the UN Special Committee on Decolonization entitled, “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”
The draft resolution asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to “render urgently an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement, and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who had not yet taken office at that time — asked Ukraine to oppose the subsequent vote on the formal United Nations resolution asking the ICJ to provide a legal opinion on Israel’s presence in post-1967 territories.
In response, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky conditioned Kyiv’s vote against the resolution on receiving guarantees from Israel on air support to block Russian missile strikes.
Netanyahu made no commitment either way – and Zelensky instructed his UN ambassador not to attend the crucial vote.