RAMALLAH: Benjamin Netanyahu, who won a mandate on Sunday to form a new government, is likely to stop arming Ukraine and could bolster Israel’s ties with Moscow, which were damaged during Yair Lapid’s tenure as as Prime Minister, according to analysts.
Yoni Ben-Menahem, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told Arab News that Netanyahu would take a pro-Moscow stance and seek to mend Israel’s relationship with Russia.
Ben-Menahem said Israel was disappointed with Ukraine because it voted on the side of the Palestinians at the UN last Friday, November 11.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry was to summon the Ukrainian ambassador to reprimand him and lodge an official protest against his country’s behavior and stance against Israel at the UN.
Ukraine’s Friday vote in favor of the Palestinians only increased Netanyahu’s anger at Kyiv’s stance, “so I don’t think he’s going to provide them with the weapons they want,” he added. senior analyst.
Ben-Menahem also said that Netanyahu’s statements about helping Ukraine during his election campaign did not mean he would respect them, because Israel needs to maintain good relations with Russia, which gave Israel the green light to bomb Iranian sites in Syria.
The analyst said social media sites in Israel were critical of Ukraine’s stance and questioned whether its vote for the Palestinians at the UN was “what Ukraine says to Israel, please help us and to receive Ukrainian refugees in your country”.
Russia has repeatedly warned Israel against supplying arms to Ukraine, as Kyiv insists that Tel Aviv sell it the Iron Dome air defense system.
On October 17, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, announced that Israel’s plans to supply weapons to Kyiv were reckless and stressed that it would destroy all relations between the two countries.
On October 22, Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, said in an interview with USA Today that he would explore the possibility of supplying arms to Ukraine if he becomes the next prime minister, in apparent contradiction to his previous statements.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked Israel to provide quality weapons, including the Iron Dome system specializing in missile interception.
Israeli regimes led by Naftali Bennett and Lapid had rejected Zelensky’s request for fear of angering Moscow, which condones Israeli air force strikes against Iranian military targets inside Syria.
The diplomatic developments came as Israeli-made armored vehicles were spotted near Kherson in service with the Ukrainian military, amid speculation as to whether they had received them directly from the Jewish state or from a third.
The images and videos of the armored vehicles were released the day Ukraine regained control of Kherson.
The Israeli public television channel KAN, affiliated with the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, broadcast videos and images of the Amir anti-mine armored vehicles.
These media claims raise questions about whether Israel would begin to meet Ukraine’s demand for weapons beyond helmets and protective vests.
The channel published a photo of the vehicles in Kherson and compared it to a vehicle of the Israeli emir, showing “very high similarity”, according to reports.
The photo of the emir was posted by a social media account that tracks Kyiv’s weapons on Twitter, showing what he claimed were Israeli armored vehicles used by Ukrainian forces in Kherson and surrounding villages.
Although the Israeli Defense Ministry and the private Israeli company that manufactures the Amir have not commented on the reports, it is believed that a European country or company may have purchased the vehicles and delivered them to Ukraine.
The Amir is produced by GAIA Automotive Industries in the Kiryat Tivon area of Haifa, northern Israel.
It is capable of transporting 12 soldiers or evacuating wounded from battlefields, as well as carrying 14 tons of ammunition or other military equipment.
It is based on a Ford F550 chassis, a utility vehicle, with independent suspension.