Speaking in equivokes with Israel is useless — one needs to tell Israel point blank that Russia will not tolerate arms supplies to Ukraine. If Israel crosses this red line, conclusions on Syria will follow.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Italian television company Mediaset that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "puts forward the following argument: what kind of denazification Ukraine may have if he (Zelensky) is a Jew."
"I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood. This does not mean anything at all. Wise Jewish people say that most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jewish. There are black sheep in every family,” Lavrov said.
UPDATE: President Putin apologised to Israeli Prime minister Naftali Bennett for Lavrov's remarks.
The next day, the Russian Ambassador to Israel was summoned to the Foreign Ministry. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the allegations "untrue" and "inherently unacceptable" while Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called them "unforgivable and outrageous." Lapid also warned that Israel was trying to maintain good relations with Russia, but Moscow "crossed the line" with that statement that Lavrov made.
"The Jews were not killing themselves during the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against the Jews is to accuse the Jews of anti-Semitism," he added and demanded an apology from the Russian government for Lavrov's remarks.
In response, Moscow accused Israel of supporting the "neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv" and reminded Israel of history. On May 3, spokespeople for the Russian Foreign Ministry said that there were episodes in history, when Jews cooperated with Nazis. For example, in Poland and some other countries, Nazis would appoint Jews as ghetto chiefs, and some of those people committed terrible crimes.
"Latvia's sitting President Levits also has Jewish roots. He also "successfully” covers up the rehabilitation of the Waffen SS in his country,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that "the law on combating anti-Semitism that Zelensky signed two years ago do not work at all."
The Russian message is clear: how can Israel that had suffered so much from Nazism support the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine?
Oleg Barabanov, program director of Valdai International Discussion Club, told Pravda.Ru that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was an experienced diplomat.
"He thinks twice before saying something. If he said that, it would mean that there was a purpose in toughening Russia's relations with Israel," the specialist told Pravda.Ru.
Let's try to suppose why Russia decided to do it because Bennett tried to act as a mediator in the Ukrainian crisis and even flew to Moscow to conduct direct negotiations with the Russian president.
Russia's relations with Israel were positive in Syria too, and even the shoot-down of the Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft could not harm the consensus, which suggested that Russia took into account Israel's concerns in the fight against Hezbollah and agreed to bombing arms convoys that Iran was sending for the movement in Syria.
According to Oleg Barabanov, Israel has changed its moderate position in connection with the Ukrainian crisis.
Indeed, Tel Aviv agreed to consider a possibility to provide additional military assistance to Ukraine at the request from the Biden administration, although Israel had previously rejected Ukraine's requests for arms shipments.
Noteworthy, Israel is one of the six countries that produce a whole range of high-quality modern arms, including military aircraft, warships, armored vehicles and missile systems.
Israel sent Brig.-Gen. Dror Shalom, head of the political security division of the Defense Ministry, to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for a summit with US officials to discuss arms assistance to Ukraine.
Russia does not want Israel to cross this red line. Yet, Lapid said that Israel would not be a way to circumvent the sanctions that the United States and other Western countries imposed on Russia.
It appears that Israel is becoming a Russia-unfriendly country with all the ensuing consequences.
Alon Pinkas, former Israeli Consul General in New York and Chief of Staff to former Israeli President Shimon Peres, told CNN that it was critical for Tel Aviv that the Russian Federation did not restrict Israel from conducting airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria not to let Hezbollah access advanced missile weapons.
If Moscow changes its position, then Israel will have no freedom of action in Syria. This freedom is vital for Israel's security.
The Russian forces destroyed a column of NATO armoured vehicles that had been delivered to the Ukrainian army.