Air assistance

Amid diplomatic spat with Russia, Israel to extend aid to Ukraine

The Foreign Ministry intends to extend its humanitarian aid to Ukraine and, for the first time, will officially provide financial support to civil aid organizations operating in the war-ravaged country, the Ministry reported on Monday. Kan public broadcaster.

The development comes amid a diplomatic spat with Russia that has threatened to shut down the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency of Israel organization, which is responsible for facilitating and encouraging Jewish immigration to Israel. Moscow, which has been angered by Israel’s support for Ukraine, said it would halt Jewish Agency operations in Russia.

While in the past Israel has provided direct support to Ukrainian authorities, the ministry said an additional 2.5 million shekels ($726,335) in aid will be given directly to nine civil society organizations, according to the report.

In a statement to Kan, the Foreign Ministry said the move had “no connection” with diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia.

He noted that since fighting began in February when Russia invaded Ukraine, the ministry has been providing humanitarian aid to refugees and the injured through its Agency for International Development Cooperation, known as Mashav.

“As the war drags on, Mashav is working to provide humanitarian assistance in a variety of creative ways, both directly and in cooperation with third-party entities operating in Ukraine,” the ministry said.

As part of this ongoing work, the ministry said, it has appealed to nonprofit organizations on the ground with the aim of finding “aid projects that meet the criteria” as set out by Mashav.

The proposal was released a month ago, but the final choice of nine organizations was only revealed in recent days, Kan reported.

The ministry noted that it had already provided hundreds of tons of personal equipment and medicine and operated a field hospital for several weeks earlier this year. In addition, Mashav provides online training to thousands of Ukrainians on topics including building community resilience and dealing with trauma, assisting people with disabilities and victims of sexual violence, the ministry said.

“Israel is committed to continuing to help Ukrainian citizens and alleviate their plight,” the ministry said.

A shipment of protective equipment for Ukraine is loaded onto a flight from Israel, July 14, 2022. (Ministry of Defense)

Last month, Russian authorities told the Jewish Agency that its offices could face sanctions for alleged violations of local laws. Organization officials initially thought this was a low-level issue that could be resolved through negotiation and compromise.

Why Moscow attacked the quasi-governmental organization remains unclear, as Russian officials have yet to indicate what steps – if any – Israel might take that would prompt them to quash its threats to shut down the group, which is responsible for facilitating and encouraging Jewish immigration to Israel.

Earlier this month, Israel sent a second shipment of protective equipment to Ukrainian emergency services, including 1,500 helmets, 1,500 protective vests, hundreds of mine protection suits, 1,000 face masks gases and dozens of hazardous materials filtration systems.

On Monday, the Foreign Ministry issued a new travel advisory urging Israeli citizens to avoid traveling to Ukraine, including the pilgrimage city of Uman.

Israeli citizens already in Ukraine have been called upon to leave immediately.

“The volatile security situation, including the danger of aerial bombardment or rocket fire on settlements and civilian areas, including in the center and west of the country, poses a real and immediate danger to life,” he said. said the ministry.

View of the Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem, November 29, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Jerusalem has avoided providing direct military aid to Kyiv — including offensive weapons or advanced defensive technology — since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24, in an effort to avoid triggering a crisis with Moscow.

But Israel has found itself at odds with Russia as it has increasingly backed Ukraine while seeking to maintain freedom of movement in the Syrian skies, which are largely controlled by Moscow.

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