Zelensky aide urges Israel to give Ukraine air defense, calls Russia ‘European Hezbollah’

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, speaks at a virtual meeting with leaders of Jewish organizations and prominent Russian-speaking Israelis, October 20, 2022. (Office of the President of Ukraine)
Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, speaks at a virtual meeting with leaders of Jewish organizations and prominent Russian-speaking Israelis, October 20, 2022. (Office of the President of Ukraine)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff holds a virtual meeting with leaders of Jewish organizations and prominent Russian-speaking Israelis, asking them to push Jerusalem to provide Kyiv with air defense systems.

“I think no one has any doubts that we are dealing with a terrorist state,” says Andriy Yermak, whose father is Jewish. “Russia is a terrorist state that today uses Iran in its fight against the US and its allies, including Israel. Russia is the European Hezbollah.”

Yermak stresses that Israel must become an active supporter of the effort against Russia, and that Jewish organizations have the power to influence Israel’s stance.

“Today, the voice of each of you, your organizations is critical in the issue of air defense, in which Israel really has extensive experience, and most importantly, it has these systems,” he says.

Zelensky’s office adds that Natan Sharansky, former Israeli cabinet minister and former chairman of the Jewish Agency, has joined Yermak, saying that the war in Ukraine is a struggle over the future of the free world.

“Therefore, I, like everyone present here, believe that being together with Ukraine at this moment is not just a moral obligation, it is in the interests of Israel,” the former prisoner of Zion says.

“Our duty is to do everything for Israel to do it,” Sharansky argues. “The people of Ukraine need this, but we also need it as part of the free world, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has encroached on the foundations of the free world and wants to deprive us of this freedom.”

As Russia relies increasingly on Iranian-made drones in recent weeks, Kyiv has amplified its calls for Israel to share air defense expertise and technology.

In the conversation, Yermak reveals that Ukraine is investing in the renovation and expansion of the Babyn Yar memorial.

Most Popular