Israel will not provide Ukraine with weapons lest they should be sold to Iran, according to Kremlin-linked media, which deliberately misquotes former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, the Israeli politician’s statement is taken out of context, while Israel refused to supply weapons to Ukraine for different reasons.
NEWS: “Any weapons delivered to Ukraine will end up in Iran’s hands, the former Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanjahu, currently the leader of the opposition, has told an interview for the MSCNBC American television station.
“As regards weapons, I don’t the possibility of the weapons ending up in Iran’s hands and being used against us, which is exactly what happened once before”, the politician said.
Netanyahu commented Israel’s current policy regarding support for Ukraine, describing it as “wise”. Israel is currently receiving refugees (although in limited numbers) and is providing humanitarian support.
We recall Israel’s Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Nachman Shai, wrote on Twitter that “there is no doubt regarding Israel’s choice to support one party of the conflict”, considering the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.
NARRATIVE: Israel will not supply any weapons to Ukraine lest they should be stolen or sold to Iran.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: In fact, in the interview given to the American TV station MSNBC, the former Prime Minister of Israel did not accuse Ukraine of stealing or selling weapons delivered by Western countries. Russian propaganda has tied together two different theses taken from Benjamin Netanyahu’s interview in order to prove that Kyiv is an unreliable partner.
The Israeli politician has analyzed Israel’s traditional reluctance regarding the idea of supplying weapons to other states. “On the Golan Plateau, where we’ve tried to prevent Iran from creating a second Lebanese front against us, a second terrorist front, we have discovered weapons manufactured by Israel”, Benjamin Netanyahu argued, pointing out when and where this reluctance first surfaced, without referring to Ukraine.
Then, Netanyahu said Israel’s reluctance to supply weapons to Ukraine or to any other state is very complicated and atypical of Israeli politicians. The Russian media added that Ukraine is usually stealing or selling Western weapons, and Netanyahu allegedly confirmed this in his interview. Various news agencies from Russia, such as Russkaya Vesna, Eurasia Daily, News.ru and others, wrote that Netanyahu has directly accused Ukraine of stealing and / or selling foreign weaponry to other states, a statement that was fabricated by Russian propaganda. Moreover, media headlines claim Israel accused Ukraine at top level. Netanyahu, however, is not a representative of Israel, because he is an opposition politician.
In another interview for USA Today, quoted by The Jerusalem Post, the former Israeli Prime Minister said he would “look into” whether or not Israel will supply weapons to Ukraine if he were to return to power after the upcoming election. He also said he expects he may be asked to act as mediator in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. “If I become Prime Minister, the question of mediation will presumably come up again”, Netanyahu argued.
In fact, Israel seemed very close to taking a decision to supply weapons to Ukraine. However, after the former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who is the deputy chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, warned Israel against delivering weapons to Ukraine as this would “destroy” its relations with Russia, Israel officially refused to send any weapons supplies to Ukraine. The Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, has reiterated the fact that his country will not provide Ukraine with weapons, despite Kyiv again officially requesting air defense systems. “Israel supports and stands with Ukraine, NATO and the West. That being said, I would like to emphasize that Israel will not deliver weapon systems to Ukraine due to a variety of operational considerations. We will continue to support Ukraine within our limitations, as we have done in the past”, the Israeli Minister went on to say. The Israeli daily Haaretz wrote that Israel also has an interest in maintaining good relations with Russia because Israel’s air operations in Syria require Russia’s approval.
Suspicions over relations between Ukraine and Iran are a fabrication of Russian media in the context of deteriorating relations between the two states. The Ukrainian MFA has directly accused Iran of supporting Russia, a country that is committing war crimes on the territory of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has asked Western states to impose additional sanctions against Iran. According to the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Teheran has supplied Russia with Iranian drones, “at the same time claiming it is against the war and supporting neither side”. Therefore, Russian propaganda narratives about Ukraine selling Western weapons to Iran in the context of poor relations between the two states seem out of touch with reality.
Veridica has disproved a number of Russian false narratives designed to depict Ukraine as a vulnerable, unstable and dangerous partner on the international stage. The Russian government media wrote that, due to Kyiv propaganda, Ukrainians don’t understand that Russia is here to liberate, not occupy them, while US scholars support Putin’s ideas about Ukraine. According to Russian propaganda, Poland will work with Hungary and Romania to capture parts of Ukraine, whereas various mercenaries from Israel are fighting against Russia alongside soldiers from the “Azov” battalion.