Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Diplomat says Israel ‘has chosen a side’ with Ukraine

An Israeli diplomat pushed back on accusations his country has not supported Ukraine enough in its war against Russia. Ambassador Asaf Zamir, the consul general of Israel in New York, says it’s a complicated issue, but Israel “has chosen a side.” “We are against the Russian aggression,” said Zamir, a guest of NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert.” “We side (with) Ukraine, we will find a way to implement these sanctions, we’ll find a way to make Israel a place where money isn’t laundered and dirty money doesn’t go.” (https://www.newsnationnow.com/on-balance-with-leland-vittert/israel-has-chosen-a-side-with-ukraine-diplomat-says/) Several dozen Jewish tycoons from Russia are believed to have taken on Israeli citizenship or residency in recent years. Many have good working relations with the Kremlin, and at least four — Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and Viktor Vekselberg — have been sanctioned internationally because of their purported connections to Putin. Israel’s position has to be nuanced, Zamir said. Its border with Syria means they “share an effective border with Russia because of Russian presence on the Syrian border,” he added. Complicating Israel’s response is its open door policy to all people of Jewish descent. Israel allows them to become citizens, and a law passed in 2014 gives them a 10-year tax holiday. Zamir said Israel helped set up a field hospital in Lviv, Ukraine and is preparing for potentially hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Ukraine and Russia.

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