Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN in an interview on Wednesday that Israel targets Iranian weapons production that could be sent to Russia for use against Ukraine.
“Israel…acts in ways that I will not detail here against Iran’s production of weapons, which are used against Ukraine,” Netanyahu said.
Israel has already actively worked to thwart Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, but in his conversation with CNN, he said those efforts were also aimed at preventing the flow of Iranian weapons to Russia.
A bomb went off at an armaments store in the Iranian city of Isfahan, which is also where Iran enriches uranium. His comments came days after those reports appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
There has been no confirmation that Iran’s nuclear, missile, or armed drone program was the intended target of the explosion. The Islamic Republic of Iran has shipped missiles and armed drones to Moscow.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the report, as is its policy in these cases. Netanyahu also misrepresented when speaking to CNN.
“I never talk about specific operations… and every time there is an explosion in the Middle East, Israel is blamed or blamed. Sometimes we are, sometimes we are not.”
Blinken concludes his visit to Jerusalem.
He made the remarks during an interview with CNN not long after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spent two days in Israel meeting with top officials like Netanyahu.
As his trip came to a close, Blinken made public comments about the disagreements between Washington and Jerusalem over Israel’s position on Ukraine. He urged Israel to do more to support Kyiv.
Blinken told reporters in Jerusalem: “The deepening of ties between Tehran and Moscow and the sophisticated weaponry they exchange to enable mutual aggression are some of the many reasons why we have raised with Israel the importance of supporting all Ukraine’s humanitarian, economic, and security needs while defending its people from Russia’s brutal war.”
Israeli aid to Ukraine
Ukraine has repeatedly asked Israel to provide it with defensive weapons to thwart Russian missile attacks and armed drones. Kyiv is especially interested in the lower-tech Israeli systems, which are cheaper than the current Ukrainian defense network.
It has also pressed Israel to make good on its promise last fall to send in an alert system that could help it pinpoint more precisely where a missile might land. CNN asked Netanyahu if he would consider sending an anti-drone and anti-missile system to Ukraine.
“Well, of course, I’m studying it,” he replied, being the first time he had spoken about this possibility since he took office at the end of December.
The prime minister also noted that Israel had supported the US decision to transfer ammunition it had stored in Israel for use by the Jewish state in case it was needed during a military conflict.
The weapons belonged to the United States, and the Biden administration decided to transfer them to Ukraine.
Netanyahu made it clear to CNN that he had not opposed the arms transfer, which included 250,000 artillery shells.
Netanyahu has said it was important for the Jewish state to support Ukraine without taking actions that could spark a war with Moscow, given that the Russian military is active in Syria, which borders Israel to the north.
During his last term, Netanyahu crafted a no-conflict agreement with Moscow that allows the IDF to carry out air raids against Iran-based targets or the illegal flow of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“What we have with Russia is a complex relationship because not far from here, a few kilometers from here, on our northern border with Syria, Israeli planes and Russian planes fly within close range of each other. Russia is militarily in Syria. Iran is trying to establish itself in Syria right next to our northern border. We keep them at bay,” she stated.
“Israel needs to have air freedom” without risking a “Russian-Israeli military confrontation,” Netanyahu added, noting that Israel has provided significant humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Netanyahu would study the possibility of mediating between Russia and Ukraine.
He elaborated that he would be willing to serve as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine if the two countries and the United States expressed an interest in him doing so.
Netanyahu stated his reasoning for not advocating for mediation, which was that the timing was not favorable.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen promised to visit Ukraine soon during Blinken’s visit to demonstrate the country’s support for the country.
On Wednesday morning, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and MK Ze’ev Elkin (National Unity) met with Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk.
Following the meeting, Edelstein and Elkin announced that, as heads of the Knesset’s parliamentary group on friendship with Ukraine, they planned to visit the war-torn country. Both immigrated to Israel from Ukraine.
Edelstein stated: “The Israel-Ukraine Friendship Association has gained new strength, given the terrible reality unfolding in the region. I have set two main objectives for our activity: to provide humanitarian and civil aid… and to deepen relations between countries, parliaments, and peoples”.
Former Minister Elkin stated: “As a Ukrainian by birth and as someone whose relatives feel the horrors of war, I consider it my duty to act with all the tools at my disposal to help Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as much as possible in these difficult times.”