Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin .
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Israel, which has painstakingly sat on the fence for years regarding the Russia-Ukraine crisis, took a stand at the UN on Monday, voting against Moscow in a resolution condemning Russia’s Ukraine policies.
The resolution passed by a vote of 66-19, with 72 abstentions.
The resolution voiced “grave concern over the progressive militarization of Crimea” and called on Moscow to “end its temporary occupation of Ukraine’s territory.”
This vote against Russia came less than two weeks after Russia – which often abstains on votes in the UN General Assembly that are important for Israel – cast its ballot against Israel by voting against a resolution condemning Hamas
. That resolution failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson would not comment on whether the two votes were connected, and there was no immediate explanation as to why Israel voted against Russia, something which – because of a realpolitik interest in not wanting to antagonize Moscow – Israel has largely refrained from doing in the past.
In 2014, the US was reportedly furious at Israel for not voting for a resolution condemning Russia for its annexation of Crimea. That vote passed 100-11, with 58 abstentions. Israel did not show up for the vote, and the reason given at the time was that the Foreign Ministry was on strike.
Moscow had taken note of Israel’s position on the Ukrainian issue, with then Ambassador to Israel Alexander Shein praising Israel’s neutrality during an interview with The Jerusalem Post, adding that he hopes this “reflects the fact that Israel cares for the future of its relations with Russia.”
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