Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday that he does not judge Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for his criticism of Israel and comparisons of the Russian invasion of his country to the Holocaust.
In his remarks to the Knesset on Sunday, the Ukrainian leader sought to draw a comparison between Russia and the Nazis, comparing his country's struggle to that of the Jews in the Holocaust, raising ire among legislators.
Speaking at Ynet's "People of Israel" conference, Bennett said he could not imagine being in Zelensky's shoes. "His country and people are dealing with a very difficult war, hundreds of dead and millions displaced," he said.
"Personally, I don't believe the Holocaust should be compared with any other event. It was a unique occurrence in human history with a methodical and industrial scale extermination of a nation in gas chambers. An unprecedented event," he said.
"At this stage I am occupied with practical ways to help," Bennett said. "Israelis should be proud of what we are doing for the civilians in Ukraine. From the first moments we sent planes over with tones of medical equipment and medicine. We are helping in many aspects including in mediation efforts," he said.
Bennett added that Israel has also been assisting in the refugee crisis by accepting non-Jewish immigrants from the war-torn country.
"We are doing a lot and 15,000 Ukrainians have already entered the country, some will ultimately immigrate here, others will remain in Israel until the fighting ends. We have nothing to be ashamed of and should be very, very proud," he said.
"In recent weeks we saw some progress made in talks between Russia and Ukraine but the differences on a number of key issues are still great," he said. "We will continue together with others in the world, to bridge the gaps and bring about an end to the war, that is the best we can hope for," Bennett said.
"The Russians originally demanded Zelensky's removal and a disarming of Ukraine's military, both are off the table now," Bennett said. "Ukraine's basic demand was to join NATO, that too has been removed so there is some progress. But like I said, there is still a long way to go," he added.