Ukraine is the most supportive country toward Israel in Europe, Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky told Ynet in an interview on Sunday.
Brodsky highlighted the extensive backing that Israel has received in Ukraine since the start of the war against Hamas. He noted receiving supportive messages from both government officials and ordinary citizens, and praised them for their unequivocal support of Israel and condemnation of Hamas.
"We are collaborating with various members of the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, in an effort to advance a declaration that designates Hamas as a terrorist organization," Brodsky stated.
"Given the recent events and the fact that more than 20 Ukrainian citizens were among the casualties, with two Ukrainian citizens being held hostage, there is a strong possibility that Ukraine will decide to officially label Hamas and potentially Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. I believe there is a majority in the Ukrainian parliament in favor of this decision. With our joint efforts, I hope we can expedite this process and achieve the desired outcome soon."
Is it true Israel told Zelensky at the beginning of the war this wasn't a good time to visit? "This is not true because there was no official request from Ukraine regarding a visit. Messages were sent to Ukraine that he is welcome to come to Israel at any time and I believe he will arrive soon. A date has not yet been set, but he is a welcome guest in Israel and I believe a visit is forthcoming."
What were the most pro-Israel showings in Ukraine? "Despite the prohibition on gatherings during the war, a support rally took place in Kyiv. More than 100 people attended the event, lighting candles and expressing their solidarity with Israel. The mayor of Kyiv made a particularly touching gesture by projecting the Israeli flag on numerous advertising screens across the city. Similar displays of support were witnessed in other cities including Lviv, Odessa, Kharkiv and Dnipro."
'The Israeli viewpoint is better understood now'
On Thursday morning, an unidentified individual splashed red paint on the outer wall of the synagogue in the city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine. Rabbi Shalom Gutleib, the city's rabbi and Chabad emissary, arrived at the synagogue early in the morning and was deeply concerned upon discovering the incident. "I immediately contacted the police," Rabbi Gutleib recounted.
"They took the matter seriously and launched an investigation. We also ensured that the security officer of the local Jewish communities, who operates on behalf of Chabad's international security headquarters, CWA, was informed."
According to Rabbi Gutleib, "The initial assessment suggests that this act was motivated by rampant antisemitic incitement in response to the Gaza operation. However, it is important to note that all aspects of the investigation are being examined. We were very surprised since there is a curfew in place starting from midnight, and it is unclear exactly when the perpetrator managed to carry out this act."
When asked about the presence of antisemitism in Ukraine, Ambassador Brodsky responded, "There is only this incident in Mykolaiv. It is unfortunate. I learned about it today, and I hope that the Ukrainian authorities will address the matter. On the other hand, it is important to note that Ukraine is among the few countries in Europe where there have been no major demonstrations in support of the Palestinians or Hamas."
Now that Russia condemned Israel, does Ukraine expect Israel to change its stance regarding providing military aid? "It's no secret there was criticism of Israel's position, particularly at the start of the conflict in Ukraine. However, as events unfolded and became clearer, the criticism has lessened. I believe that our own experiences have provided answers to some of the questions that were being raised on various issues. For instance, there was a request from the Ukrainians for Israel to provide them with an Iron Dome system.
"Today, they understand that we couldn't, and still can't, spare even one Iron Dome, as we need all our defense systems and interceptors for ourselves. From the outset of the war here in Ukraine, we have been emphasizing that we are sitting on a powder keg in the Middle East. If it wasn't evident enough to anyone in Ukraine before, it is certainly much clearer now. Unfortunately, this reality has been tragically illustrated through events in Israel. As for what will happen after the war, it is difficult to predict. However, they understand that our primary focus is on winning the battle against Hamas."
Did Ukrainians offer to come fight alongside Israel? "I have received multiple requests to provide assistance and come to help with treating the wounded. It is important to understand that this is not a straightforward matter since Ukrainian men are unable to leave the country as they are engaged in an ongoing war effort of their own. However, I view these offers as a meaningful expression of support for the people of Ukraine."
How are the Ukrainians reacting to Russia's support of Hamas? "There were some 'we told you so's, but in my interaction with them we refrain from speaking about it since I don't like to deal in speculations."
Russia and Ukraine both blame each other for their weapons ending up in Hamas's hands. Do you know which one actually did? "I don't possess a definitive answer. When questioned about it in the Ukrainian media, I tend to indicate that further investigations will be conducted. However, it is likely we will never know."
Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk dismissed reports suggesting that weapons from Ukraine have reached Hamas. He characterized these claims as false and linked them to Russian propaganda.
"Unfortunately, these are news that the Russian government disseminates intentionally to accuse Ukraine, as part of the Russians' struggle against the people of Israel," he said.
"Ukraine has been supporting Israel from the very beginning of Hamas' terrible attack, in which many Israeli civilians were killed. Therefore, there is no possibility that weapons from Ukraine would reach Hamas. Ukraine feels a shared destiny with Israel and insists that this is a Russian manipulation. This is also the reason why Ukraine calls on Israel to ban the broadcasting of Russian television networks in Israel, as they are a source of disinformation and manipulation, just as Israel wants to cease the activity of Al Jazeera within its territory."
Ukrainian Embassy in Tel Aviv took part in a weekend fair dedicated to transporting food and basic necessities to all those evacuated from the southern city of Sderot.
In Russia, protesters are calling to expel Jews
In Russia, which opposes Ukraine in the ongoing conflict, there has been a marked rise in antisemitic incidents and protests against Israel. A Moscow court recently sentenced three young men of Azeri descent, all holding Russian citizenship, to 15 days in prison for burning the Israeli flag.
In Makhachkala, the capital of Russia's Republic of Dagestan, security forces broke up a protest against Israel. Several detained young men, eligible for military service, were subsequently given draft notices to serve in the war in Ukraine.
Additionally, in the southern Russian city of Nalchik, unidentified individuals set fire to the Jewish cultural center. Witnesses stated that someone hurled flaming tires into the building, and the phrase "Death to Jews" was scrawled on its wall.
In the Caucasus region, there have been various protests calling for the expulsion of Jews. One particularly violent protest took place outside the Flamingo Hotel, where it was falsely claimed that Israeli refugees with family connections in Dagestan were residing. This misinformation was spread through Telegram groups. Approximately 500 enraged protesters demanded the removal of the "Israelis" and explicitly stated that "Jews are not allowed here."
As a result, law enforcement had to intervene and permit some of the protesters to enter the hotel to confirm that there were no Israeli nationals present, only tourists from different parts of Russia. Subsequently, the crowd dispersed. A provocative sign was placed at the hotel entrance, declaring that "Entry for Israeli citizens is strictly prohibited."