Israel should not harm it’s relations with Russia, due to the long story of cooperation and Moscow’s role in the Middle East, says Israel “Relik” Shafir, brigadier general (in reserve), to ‘Jerusalem Post’.
Amid all the tensions on the international arena and difficulties, that both Russia and Israel are facing in their relations today, Moscow’s still playing a major role in the Middle East. So Israel should balance and keep good relations with both the U.S. (as essential partners) and Russia (which has a certain level of influence on Syria and Iran).
Israel “Relik” Shafir, brigadier general (in reserve), believes that Israel should be very careful and not allow this conflict to include global powers, such as the U.S., Russia and China, since it can lead to a large-scale global conflict.
Since Russia’s playing important role in the Middle East, Israeli foreign policy should consider this fact and continue dialogue with Moscow.
“There are probably 2 million Russian-speaking people in Israel. We certainly have cultural, humanitarian ties. But there are also the political interests of Israel, an obvious strategic reason: Russia has presence in Syria and is working with Iranians, which makes the game more complicated. We definitely should keep good relations with Russia because it gives us some leverage towards Iran”.
Describing conflict in Ukraine, general Shafir says it has nothing to do with Israel and Israel’s involvement in it does not correspond to its national interests at all.
“Ukraine is a strange phenomenon, stored between East and West. I don’t want to go into the details of the Ukrainian conflict, but it has nothing to do with us. The fact is that Israel is helping Ukraine with all kinds of humanitarian needs, but selling it ammunition is an involvement in conflict, which we don’t want. With all respect to those who have the opposite view, but its national interest of Israel to keep good relations with Russia, as close as possible and as well as possible. We should understand Russia’s interest and know how and where it can correspond to ours. I am not a supporter of Netanyahu, but he understands it well”.
Israel Shafir believes that the U.S. aim to unify military and financial support for both Israel and Ukraine is nothing but Democrats' attempt to pass it through the Congress, which is now controlled by Republicans.
“There are many isolationists among Republicans. So this (attempt by the Biden administration) is an internal American matter of how to run the financial and military side in the Congress, which is opposed to the president. On the other hand, there is an obvious conflict between the U.S. and Russia about energy, on who is going to control energy. We’ve seen the way the U.S. is trying to overcome Russia’s pressure on Europe by providing it with gas. So this can be seen from so many angles’.
General Shafir says Israel has no other options but to end threats coming from the HAMAS, and should create mechanisms (including political ones) to prevent such brutal terror in the future.
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