Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel condemned a call this week between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Israel’s newest top diplomat Eli Cohen, who was appointed as foreign minister late last month, suggesting there has been a change in policy between Moscow and Jerusalem.
“Israel’s minister of foreign affairs hasn’t spoken to Lavrov since the war started,” Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk told the Times of Israel Tuesday in reference to the former foreign minister, Yair Lapid.
But the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the appointment of his hard right cabinet suggest there will be changes not only in Israel but with how it engages with international partners.
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Korniychuk said Israel is “unique in terms of our partners” and noted that despite humanitarian aid it has provided Kyiv, Jerusalem has remained “silent” when it comes to condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine, notably the attacks on civilian targets.
“Unfortunately, we are getting no condemnation of the mass shelling of our civilians in recent months,” he added, according to the Israeli news outlet.
Korniychuk said Israel’s position on the war is “unclear,” but according to one Israeli official who spoke following the Lavrov-Cohen chat, “there is no change in Israel’s policy.”
Cohen sparked international condemnation this week during his first speech as Israeli foreign minister when he addressed the war in Ukraine, saying, “With regard to the Russia-Ukraine issue, we will do one thing for certain – in public – we will talk less.”
Top supporters for aid to Ukraine like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pushed back on Cohen’s comments and said, “The idea that Israel should speak less about Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine is a bit unnerving.”
“I hope Mr. Cohen understands that when he speaks to Russia’s Lavrov, he’s speaking to a representative of a war criminal regime that commits war crimes on an industrial scale every day,” he added.
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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has not reportedly spoken with his new Israeli counterpart, though Netanyahu has spoken with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Netanyahu from the campaign trail suggested under his leadership Israel might begin providing arms to Kyiv, but Zelenskyy seemed unconvinced following a recent call with the six-term prime minister.
According to a report by Axios last week, Netanyahua called Zelenskyy ahead of a United Nations General Assembly vote on a resolution that called on the International Court of Justice to provide a legal opinion on the ramifications of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands as defined by pre-1967 boundaries agreed to under the U.N.
Netanyahu allegedly asked Zelenskyy to either vote against the resolution – which was approved by 87 nations while 24 countries voted against and 53 nations abstained – or to abstain from voting altogether.
Zelenskyy pushed back and asked if Israel would provide air support against Russia’s assault, a proposition the Israeli leader supposedly said he would consider.
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Zelenskyy apparently did not like the noncommittal answer and instructed Ukraine’s diplomat to the U.N. not to attend the vote – a move that sidestepped Netanyahu’s wishes.
The Israeli leader was reportedly disappointed by the decision.
Fox News could not immediately reach the Israeli foreign ministry for comment.