DAILY ALERT
Thursday,
March 3, 2022


In-Depth Issues:

Israel Joins in UN General Assembly Vote to Condemn Russian Invasion of Ukraine, 141-5 (Jerusalem Post)
    The UN General Assembly on Wednesday voted to condemn Russia's "aggression" against Ukraine 141-5, with 35 abstentions.
    The five countries voting "no" were Russia, Syria, North Korea, Eritrea and Belarus. China, India and Iran abstained.
    See also Israel at UN Says Ukraine Invasion Must End - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the UN Noa Furman called Russia's invasion "a serious violation of the international order" at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
    She urged Moscow "to heed the calls of the international community to stop the attack and respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine."
    See also U.S. Thanks Israel for Helping on UN Ukraine Vote (Twitter)
    U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides tweeted Wednesday: "Enormous thanks to Israel for helping rally more members to stand with Ukraine in today's historic UN vote."
    See also The UN Resolution on Ukraine: How Did the Middle East Vote? (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)



Israeli Prime Minister Speaks with Russia's Putin, Ukraine's Zelensky on Wednesday - Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday, just hours after Bennett spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.



Israel: Ukrainians Seeking Shelter Allowed Entry - Lior El-Hi (Ynet News)
    Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked on Tuesday said Ukrainians fleeing the war are allowed to enter Israel.
    Shaked said, "Since this morning, 97 passengers from different countries in the world with Ukrainian passports arrived in Israel, and only two were turned away."



Hundreds of Jews Fleeing Ukraine to Arrive in Israel - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    Hundreds of Ukrainian Jews will immigrate to Israel on Sunday on three separate flights, leaving from Poland, Moldova and Romania, the Jewish Agency for Israel said Wednesday.



Doctors in Israel Care for Ukrainians 2,000 Km. Away - Nathan Jeffay (Times of Israel)
    At Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, a doctor checks the lungs of a Ukrainian refugee who is 2,000 km. away, part of a new "virtual hospital" in Chisinau, the Moldavan capital, that has Israeli medical staff caring for people injured in Ukraine.
    Prof. Gadi Segal, head of internal telemedicine at Sheba who is part of a delegation sent by United Hatzalah of Israel, said, "We learned during the pandemic how telemedicine can revolutionize medicine, and it's moving to be able to use it to treat the refugees virtually from Israel."



NGO Making Sure Kiev's Righteous Among the Nations Don't Go Hungry - Zvika Klein (Jerusalem Post)
    The Jewish organization From the Depths is making sure that the 17 surviving Righteous Among the Nations who live in Ukraine, all in their late 80s and 90s, are provided with food, medicine and any other needs.



Israel and U.S. Cooperate Against Iran-Backed Militias in Red Sea (JNS)
    An American intelligence-gathering aircraft using Uvda Air Force Base in southern Israel is working with the Israeli Navy to thwart threats by Iran-backed militias in the Red Sea, Israel's Channel 11 reported on Tuesday.
    The Red Sea patrols aim at uncovering Shi'ite militia activities aimed at attacking Israel from Yemen, among other missions, and was made possible after Israel joined the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility.


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Every Day an Archaeological Site in Israel Is Looted - Andrew Califf (Ha'aretz)
    The Israel Antiquities Authority's Theft Prevention Unit is tasked with preventing looting and grave robbing from the countless archeological sites in Israel. Every night, somewhere in Israel, someone is looting something.
    Some looters take tractors and destroy entire ancient structures. Fake treasure maps circulate on social media platforms such as TikTok.
    The incidence of well-funded and targeted looting ventures has more than doubled since 2020.
    The IAA legal team tries to push convictions. But they aren't very effective at deterring archaeological desecration. Repeatedly, looters return to the scene of their initial crimes after paying the fines.



Why Arabs Do Not Trust the Biden Administration - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    There is growing concern in the Arab world about the destructive actions and policies of Iran and its proxies.
    Prominent Arab political analysts are continuing to express fear about Iran's "expansionist" schemes in the Arab countries.
    The Arabs cannot understand the Biden administration's reluctance to redesignate the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization after the recent drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
    For these Arabs, the Biden administration cares little for the security and stability of its friends and allies in the Arab world.
    If and when the Biden administration signs a new deal with Iran, the sense of betrayal in the Arab world is likely to broaden.



Donor Yanks Israel Studies Endowment at U of Washington over Professor's Israel Criticism - Andrew Lapin (JTA)
    Becky Benaroya, a Seattle philanthropist, gave $5 million in 2016 to create the Israel Studies Program at the University of Washington.
    But after Professor Liora Halperin, who held the Jack and Rebecca Benaroya Endowed Chair in Israel Studies, signed a statement criticizing Israel last year, Benaroya became concerned about what was happening in the program she had funded.
    After meetings with the professor and university officials, the university returned the entire endowment to Benaroya earlier this year.



Israel Aerospace Industries Reopens F-16 Wing Assembly Line (Israel Defense)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has delivered the first F-16 wing and vertical fin to Lockheed Martin, following the reopening of its F-16 wing assembly line, first established in the 1980s.
    IAI also produces F-16 conformal fuel tanks.



Spanish Army to Get Israeli Anti-Tank Missiles - Eyal Boguslavsky (Israel Defense)
    The Spanish Ministry of Defense intends to purchase 168 Spike anti-tank missile launchers and 1,680 Spike LR2 missiles made by the Israeli company Rafael to replace the U.S. Tow missiles used by the Spanish army, Spanish media reported.



Recalling Japanese Support to Jewish People during WWII - Zvi Hauser (Mainichi-Japan)
    On Feb. 1, 2022, Japan's National Diet (legislature) held an event to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day for the first time, together with Israel's Knesset.
    The event included awarding a letter of appreciation to Japanese nationals who helped Jewish people during the Second World War.
    We are all grateful for the heroic actions of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who saved thousands of Jews from Poland and Lithuania in the midst of the Holocaust, who was awarded the title "Righteous Among the Nations."
    Professor Abraham Setsuzo Kotsuji secured the rescue and livelihood of Jews who evacuated to Japan, joined by Saburo Nei and Tatsuo Osako.
    The writer, a Knesset Member and former Cabinet Secretary, is Chairman of the Israel-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Tehran Hardened Demands at Nuclear Talks after Russia Invaded Ukraine, Diplomats Say - Liz Sly
    Iran's chief negotiator returned to Vienna this week with hardened demands, diplomats say, dampening hopes that an agreement would be wrapped up shortly. On Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Biden administration is "prepared to walk away if Iran displays an intransigence to making progress."
        Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group said that Iran has been emboldened by the collapse of relations between the U.S. and Russia and the soaring price of oil to press for new concessions, on the assumption that high oil prices will make Washington more desperate for a deal. (Washington Post)
  • U.S., Iran Split over Key Nuclear Issues - Laurence Norman
    Significant differences remain between the U.S. and Iran on several key issues in negotiations to restore the 2015 nuclear deal. American and Iranian officials say the differences include the scope of American sanctions relief, continued Iranian demands that the U.S. provide stronger guarantees that it won't again exit the deal, and the U.S. push to ensure that a prisoner swap occurs alongside restoring the nuclear pact.
        Another issue has emerged as a last-minute obstacle: Iran's efforts to shut down an International Atomic Energy Agency probe into nuclear material found in Iran. After the discovery of nuclear material in Tehran in 2019, Iran hasn't answered the IAEA's questions about where the material came from and why it was there. Washington is under pressure from European allies and Israel not to compromise on the issue. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Returns to UN Human Rights Council, Rejects Commission of Inquiry Against Israel
    U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday on the occasion of the U.S. rejoining the Council. After discussing the Russian attack on Ukraine, Blinken added, "We will continue to counter anti-Israel bias and the unfair and disproportionate focus on Israel on the Council. The Commission of Inquiry and standing Agenda Item 7 [on Israel] are a stain on the Council's credibility, and we strongly reject them."  (U.S. State Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Palestinian Gunmen Killed in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli undercover Border Police officers came under fire while arresting a terror suspect in Jenin overnight Monday. Israeli forces returned fire, killing two Palestinian gunmen. The two are believed to be members of Islamic Jihad. (Times of Israel-Ynet News)
  • Israel to Boost Number of Palestinian Workers from Gaza - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday, "We intend to expand [our] civilian humanitarian policy, including an immediate increase in the quota of [Palestinian] workers [who can enter Israel]." In October, Israel expanded the work permit program to allow up to 10,000 workers into the country.
        "Unfortunately, the residents of Gaza are captives of Hamas leaders who deprive them of a better livelihood and future for their children. The leaders of Hamas and the residents of Gaza will also be the ones to bear responsibility, if the peace in Gaza or elsewhere is disturbed," Gantz warned. (Times of Israel)
        See also Jump in Exports of Agricultural Produce from Gaza to Israel
    Exports of agricultural produce from Gaza to Israel jumped by 142% in the first two months of 2022, the Unit for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) reported Tuesday. This momentum follows the facilitation of exports under the supervision of COGAT. (Xinhua-China)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Ukraine

  • Ukraine's President Zelensky Is Winning the Narrative Campaign - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    The war between Russia and Ukraine has a military dimension, in which Ukraine, with limited Western assistance, mainly in the realm of intelligence, tries to make the most of the natural advantages that being the defending side in a conventional war inevitably confer.
        Furthermore, this war has a significant political-security dimension, centering on the long-term consequences for the balance of power between the liberal West (of which Israel is a part), and the West's autocratic adversaries (Russia, China, and their proxies) and ideological enemies (radical Islam, especially Iran).
        Even if he may soon be defeated and perhaps even lose his life, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has succeeded in winning the campaign for the narrative through personal example, determined and exhilarating messages, and leveraging the heroic conduct and sacrifice of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers.
        If Zelensky succeeds, against the odds, he can position Ukraine and himself as an example of fighting for freedom and present Ukraine as a role model for other nationalities, especially in Russia's environment and perhaps even within Russia. Therefore, it is clear how great a danger Zelensky's moves constitute in Putin's eyes.
        The writer, Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center, was formerly head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Ukraine Has Shown that Nationalism Can Be a Force for Good - Fiamma Nirenstein
    In March 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the BBC that Russia "is part of European culture," and he would not rule out the possibility of joining NATO. When NATO went to Afghanistan, Putin was happy. When Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania entered NATO in 2004, he even said that Ukraine could do so, stating, "It's none of my business."
        The Russian invasion of Ukraine is creating an unexpected Western narrative in which politically correct pacifism is making way for a new ethic of courage that even requires weapons. Putin's arrogant invasion of Ukraine caused a lightbulb moment among Western leaders - that Ukraine had to do the obvious: defend itself and affirm its choice for Western democracy. What Ukraine has shown, and Europe may be starting to understand, is that nationalism can be a force for good and democracy.
        The writer, former vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (JNS)
  • Will Putin's Attack on Ukraine Revive NATO? - Prof. Shmuel Sandler
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed to stand against the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin, and lost its raison d'etre in the late 1980s with the breakup of the USSR. Due to fear of the revival of Russian hegemonic aspirations, many nations in Eastern Europe rushed to join NATO. However, its huge expansion to 30 members also resulted in a weakening of internal solidarity.
        In 2022, the Russian threat to Ukraine has reawakened fears of similar moves against other states in Eastern Europe. Will President Biden stand firm against the Russian president who appears to threaten values that the West holds dear, as President Reagan did against the Soviet Union?
        Israel needs to maintain its relationship with the U.S., while keeping an eye on its border with Syria, where Russia is dominant, and also on Iran's nuclear program. On January 19, 2022, President Putin met with Iranian President Raisi in Moscow.
        Israel should maintain a low profile in the current conflict. The U.S., as well, has no interest in giving Putin the opportunity to turn the Middle East into another area of conflict against the West.
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is president of Emunah-Efrat College in Jerusalem and a senior research associate at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. (Makor Rishon-Hebrew-25Feb2022)
  • The War in Ukraine Is Not Necessarily Playing into Iran's Hands - Yossi Melman
    Western intelligence assessments that the Russians would capture Kyiv within 48 hours of a blitzkrieg turned out to be wrong. At the same time, we mustn't underestimate the Russian war machine.
        The war in Ukraine will continue to have repercussions on the campaign Israel is conducting against Iran in Syria, on the nuclear deal, and on Iran's aspirations for regional hegemony. Putin has been repeating his doctrine for years: Russian nationalism and a return to the glory days of the Tsarist empire and the Soviet Union as a superpower. For him, the disintegration of the Soviet Union was "a historical tragedy." The conquest of all of Ukraine, or parts of it, or the establishment of a puppet government in Kyiv, will only increase his appetite.
        Some say the war in Ukraine reduces the chances of signing a new nuclear agreement with Iran. In my opinion, the war came at a bad time for Iran, which very much wanted to return to the 2015 agreement and to be freed from sanctions. The Iranians are also drawing conclusions from the uniting of the ranks demonstrated by NATO and the European Union, and from their determination to make Russia a pariah state, concerned about the strength the West is demonstrating at the moment. (Ha'aretz)


  • Iran

  • Iranian Regime Supports Putin's "Special Operation" in Ukraine - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall and Iran Desk
    In its coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Iranian media emphasizes that the West and the U.S. are a thin reed to lean on. An editorial in Keyhan, which reflects the opinion of Khamenei, the Supreme Leader (Feb. 25), states: "Moscow had no other choice but to ensure the security of the people of Ukraine and prevent it being swallowed up by a dangerous (NATO) military bloc, and to send its troops across the border. With his blitzkrieg, President Putin delivered, in a brilliant diplomatic move, the message to the President of Ukraine, Zelensky, a Jewish comedian."
        However, there are dissenting voices. Ali Motahari, the conservative former Deputy Speaker of the Majlis (20162019), wrote on Twitter: "Currently, the Iranian Broadcasting Authority reports on events in Ukraine as if it was one of the Russian colonies. Let us always remember the historical theft of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia from the hands of Iran by Czarist Russia, and we must remember the Soviet support for Saddam Hussein's aggression against Iran."
        Mehrdad Khedir, a conservative commentator, warned that Iran's official policy does not support separatist tendencies (such as the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk) that could serve as a boomerang in the separatism-prone Iranian provinces (East Azerbaijan, Khuzestan) and that evoke the bitter memories of the Russian Czar's imprisonment of Persian kings, which led to the loss of Iranian territory.
        The nuclear talks in Vienna are being conducted in parallel with the crisis in Ukraine. Russia plays a central role in the talks, especially when it comes to advancing Iran's negotiating position. On Feb. 26, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov assured his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that "Russia has always supported Iran's position during the Vienna talks and that cooperation with our friend Iran in Vienna is good and will continue."
        The writer, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Capitulation to Iran Endangers Arabs, Middle East, U.S. - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A growing number of Arabs are trying to warn the Biden administration that striking a new deal with Iran would not only embolden Iran and its terrorist proxies and endanger America's friends in the Middle East, but create a nuclear arms race "on steroids" in the region. It is a decision that is causing irreparable damage to America's credibility in the Middle East.
        Moreover, as Arab analysts are saying, America and its Western allies are themselves in the sights of the mullahs in Tehran. A new Iran deal will not buy goodwill. It will only appear as weakness and accelerate aggression against the West. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Spreading the Iranian Revolution in Latin America - Emanuele Ottolenghi
    Iran's Al Mustafa International University has branches in over 50 countries, including a new center inaugurated in November 2020 at the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela in Caracas. The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the university in 2020 for its role in Iran's propaganda efforts, including the provision of material support for the training and indoctrination of Shiite militias.
        As Kasra Aarabi and Saeid Golkar wrote in February 2021 for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, "Al-Mustafa's objective is to enroll and train non-Iranian students interested in Iran's revolutionary Shia Islamist ideology, or in becoming Shia clerics, to disseminate and advance the ideological goals of Iran's Islamic Revolution." Al Mustafa carries the torch of Iran's Islamic Revolution through hundreds of blogs, online materials, journals, and other publications, with classes in dozens of languages that train tens of thousands of students, including foreign converts.
        Thanks to the zeal of its acolytes and Iran's funding, a vast regional network is now in place. Al Mustafa-sponsored institutions are an echo chamber for Iran's narrative of resistance to so-called imperialists and oppressors, usually embodied by the U.S. and Israel, which resonates more in parts of Latin America than a specifically Islamic message would. Since the death of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in 2020, Iran has depicted him for Latin American audiences as a latter-day Islamic Che Guevara.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Tablet)


  • Palestinians

  • The Palestinian Stance on the Invasion of Ukraine - Yoni Ben Menachem
    The Palestinian leadership is hesitant to make declarations on Russia's military invasion of Ukraine. The PA and Hamas are much more sympathetic toward Russia than toward the U.S. On the one hand, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas does not want to lose the Biden administration's support for reopening the PLO offices in Washington and the American consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem. But, on the other hand, he also needs Russia's support for his initiative for an international peace conference. Abbas has long-standing ties with Moscow; some years ago, he claimed he had served as a KGB agent while earning his doctorate in Moscow.
        The Palestinians are well aware that Ukrainian President Zelensky is a Jew. In their view, he is also a Zionist who backed the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's united capital, as well as Israel's Guardian of the Walls Operation in Gaza in May 2021.
        Some Palestinians welcome the Russian army's invasion of Ukraine in the hope that it will lead to a new world order in which U.S. power and hegemony will decline. They want to see the U.S., Israel's strong ally, weakened, which would inevitably lead to Israel's weakening as well. On February 26, 2022, Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook tweeted: "One of the most important lessons of the Russian-Ukrainian war is that the era of America as the world's sole bulwark has come to an end."
        The Palestinian Authority needs Russia, but at the same time, it does not want trouble with Ukraine, where 2,500 Palestinians are currently living, mostly students. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Attempting to Link Ukraine with Palestinians - Seth J. Frantzman
    Critics of Israel have tried to link Ukraine to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, complaining that the same media that lauds the Ukrainians for making Molotov cocktails doesn't laud the Palestinian "resistance" for doing the same. They say that while the West is backing Ukrainians for resisting Russia, it doesn't back Palestinians who also want to "resist."
        The Palestinians have received more coverage and more sympathetic stories than any other people in the world. Look at the number of stories and NGO campaigns about the eviction of a few families in eastern Jerusalem. The number of Ukrainians who are being forced to flee is already more than the total number of Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948.
        Another major difference is that Palestinians went from "resisting" to bombing civilians and celebrating attacks on civilians. Ukrainians aren't blowing up buses in Moscow. There are no posters of Ukrainian "martyrs" whose actions were massacring Russian children. There's nothing romantic about a Palestinian throwing a Molotov cocktail onto a civilian's car. The media is celebrating Ukrainian resistance because it is against the Russian military.
        Palestinians call for taking control "from the river to the sea" and that Israel shouldn't exist. Ukraine doesn't say it wants Moscow, and Ukraine doesn't have maps of their country that include all of Russia. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Almost All European Aid to the PA Held Up as Officials Discuss Reform of Textbooks - Aaron Boxerman
    Millions of euros in EU aid to the Palestinian Authority are stuck in Brussels since 2020 as officials in the European Commission discuss whether to condition parts of the foreign assistance on reforms to Palestinian textbooks. Since EU aid to the Middle East is allocated to all the countries in the region as a single package, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon also have not received aid since 2020.
        EU official Oliver Varhelyi, whose responsibilities include overseeing European aid to the Palestinians, was appointed to the Commission by Hungary. Varhelyi proposed that $10 million be withheld unless PA textbooks were found to meet international standards. Varhelyi has been publicly outspoken about enforcing stricter conditions on European aid to the Palestinian Authority education sector.
        "This step by the EU is the entirely predictable result of the Palestinian Authority breaching its own agreement with the EU to take the hate out of the textbooks," said Marcus Sheff, director of IMPACT-se, a nonprofit that monitors textbooks for incitement. (Times of Israel)


  • Other Issues

  • Europe's Urgent Need for Israeli Gas Production - Amb. Dore Gold
    The crisis over Ukraine in 2022 has illustrated just how important the diversification of the sources of European gas has become and the urgency of finding alternatives to Russian gas, if only to reduce Moscow's leverage over Europe and the NATO alliance. The new Israeli government has halted the granting of licenses for natural gas exploration for one year while the Energy Ministry devotes its efforts to renewable energy.
        In the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, there are multiple reasons why work on the East Med pipeline must be resumed as soon as possible, along with gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, increasing the supply of gas to the West will also help drive down its price, thereby undermining Russia's ability to fund its war machine in the future.
        The writer, former Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ambassador to the UN, is President of the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The "Apartheid" Smear Has Been Used Against Israel for Decades - Dan Diker
    In 1961, Ahmed Shukairy, the PLO's first chairman, declared to the UN General Assembly that Israel was practicing "the apartheid of South Africa" - six years before Israel controlled the West Bank. The indictment of Israel by Amnesty International reflects the 60-year-old PLO strategy of criminalizing Israel. In its report, Amnesty is working toward a final outcome shared with the PLO: the cancellation of the one and only democratic Jewish majority state.
        The writer is Director of the Program to Counter Political Warfare and BDS at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)


  • Weekend Feature

  • Ukrainian Ambassador Claims His Country Aided Jews during the Holocaust. History Says Otherwise - Ofer Aderet
    The Ukrainian ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, said Tuesday: "We think everyone remembers the Second World War, when Ukrainians helped rescue Jews." Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial center, recognizes 2,673 Ukrainian Righteous Gentiles, among the highest statistically, but not relative to the number of Jews who were living in Ukraine at the time - 2.4 million on the eve of the war - or to the total Ukrainian population. In Israel, there are Jews who owe their lives to a handful of Ukrainians who helped them in their time of need.
        But alongside the handful who rescued Jews, there were many others who did exactly the opposite. They hunted them down, turned them over to the Nazis and even murdered them with their own hands - all with enthusiasm and joy, and without force or invitation. Many of the guards at the extermination camps were Ukrainian.
        Some 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. "Without the massive help of Ukrainian auxiliary police units, the Germans would have had a very difficult time murdering so many Jews so quickly," said Prof. Omer Bartov. "Whether it was putting Jews into railway cars or murdering them on the spot, in both cases, they needed to be located, collected and led along."
        In addition, there were Ukrainian nationalist organizations that operated independently to murder Jews. Canadian-American historian John-Paul Himka's new book, Ukrainian Nationalists and the Holocaust, describes how Ukrainian nationalist militias raided Jewish hiding places, found those sheltering with local families and in the forests, and handed them over to the Germans or murdered them themselves. The Yad Vashem website contains testimony from a senior Nazi officer recounting that his office received many reports from Ukrainians about Jews hiding near Babi Yar. "The number of reports was so great that due to a lack of manpower, the office couldn't handle them all," he said.
        In Ukraine of today, even while the country's president is a Jew, sympathy remains for the national heroes who collaborated with the Nazis. In 2015, the Ukrainian parliament approved laws banning criticism of anyone who fought for Ukrainian independence in the 20th century, "despite the fact that one of the most important movements that struggled for independence actively collaborated in the wave of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews following the Nazi invasion," said Holocaust researcher Dr. Efraim Zuroff. The birthday of Stefan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist leader who collaborated with the Nazis, was recently proclaimed a national holiday. (Ha'aretz)
Observations:

  • The courageous conduct of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has personally led the defense of his country rather than fleeing for his life as most people expected he would do, has turned the former comedian into an unlikely 21st-century Jewish hero.
  • In the last decade, Russia became a Middle East power. With American acquiescence, Russia became, along with Iran, a full-fledged combatant in the Syrian civil war. With the brutal use of military might now being employed in Ukraine, the Russians enabled their ally, Assad, to prevail in a war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and rendered another five million homeless.
  • The Russians remain the dominant force in Syria, making Putin a powerful neighbor to Israel, rather than just an international symbol of tyranny and aggression. It is only via the good graces of the Russians that the Israel Defense Forces is able to have the freedom to strike at Iranian forces and those of its Hizbullah terrorist auxiliaries in Syria.
  • Most Jews are rooting for Zelensky to somehow avoid the fate that usually befalls those who are forced into fights with ruthless and militarily powerful neighbors. However the war in Ukraine turns out, it is a warning to small countries to reject the notion that their safety can depend on international guarantees.
  • The 1994 agreement in which Ukraine surrendered the nuclear weapons it inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union involved both Russia and the U.S. guaranteeing its independence. It's not just that Putin couldn't be trusted to abide by that pact. It's that the U.S. can't be relied upon to stand by its allies.
  • Just as important, the Biden administration is currently embarking on a policy of appeasement of Iran. With a new and even weaker nuclear deal, Israel is faced with a situation in which its sole superpower ally is prepared to enrich and empower a regime that poses an existential threat to the existence of the Jewish state.
  • Israelis know how fickle international opinion can be when it comes to a country's right to defend itself. Everyone likes underdogs - something that generated support for the Jewish state's efforts to defend its existence in the past, when many military analysts thought it could not survive Arab efforts to wipe it out in its early years. Israelis have learned that they must forget about being popular, so long as they are strong enough to resist campaigns aimed at their destruction.
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