A Ukrainian Jewish leader opposed to the Russian takeover of Crimea failed to drum up support this week from Israel, which is sitting out the crisis pitting its US ally against Moscow.
Edward Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, made a lobbying trip to Jerusalem with influential Ukrainian Jewish lawmaker Alexander Feldman. They were not received by officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, Dolinsky said he and Feldman had sought to win Israeli support for "Ukraine and the aspirations of the Ukrainian people". He voiced dismay at the Netanyahu government's failure to oppose Russia's Crimea move.
Such censure, while not voiced by all of Ukraine's 200,000 Jews, challenges Israel's effort to steer clear of the showdown between Moscow and the US-backed nationalists in Kiev even as allegations of anti-Semitism surface on both sides.
"We were disappointed with the Israeli reaction, the acceptance of the Ukraine situation," Dolinsky said. "They are trying to be very diplomatic with Russia because of Russian influence and the future importance of Russia for Israel's situation."
Many in Ukraine thought Israel could mobilize international opinion for Kiev, Dolinsky said.
"Israel is a small country by size but for Ukrainians it is an influential country," he said. "And it is also important for Israel to have Ukraine as a friend in the future."