Stressing the close historical and cultural ties between Ukraine and Israel, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says that his country is disappointed by the level of material and diplomatic support it has received from the Israeli government.
“Unfortunately, for most items of assistance we would want to get from Israel, we can’t say we’ve gotten any of that assistance,” says Zelensky, speaking by video to students and faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem a day before the four-month mark of the Russian invasion.
“Please remember how close we are linked, how our ties are, and what should be the level of understanding between us,” he continues, after referencing the Israeli pioneers who grew up in Ukraine, including prime minister Golda Meir, author Sholem Aleichem, and president Yitzhak Ben-Zvi.
“When governments introduce sanctions against Russia, this is not about business,” he stresses, wearing the khaki t-shirt senior Ukrainian officials have donned during the war. “This is about values and general security. This is about everyone who is willing to destroy another nation has to be held accountable. Unfortunately, we have not seen yet Israel join the sanctions regime.”
“Why we have misunderstandings, miscommunication with representatives of the government, I don’t know,” he laments.
At the same time, Zelensky underscores his admiration and gratitude toward the Israeli people.
“I love your country,” he says. “I am grateful to the people of Israel. I am grateful to you for the sincere and emotional support for Ukraine, for your support of Ukrainians, I’m grateful for the Ukrainian flags on your streets. We see this and we value this very much.”
He also says that he cares deeply about the future of Israel-Ukraine relations.
“We do have a joint future, a great future,” says Zelensky. “Because we have this great history and great past… We will have to look into each others’ eyes for many years to come.”