Israel examining impact to its economy of int'l sanctions on Russia

"The Foreign Ministry has been leading one of the most complex operations in the history of the state in the last five days. We'll do everything not to leave any Israelis or Jews behind," Lapid says.

 Israelis protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine at Zion Square February 24, 2022. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israelis protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine at Zion Square February 24, 2022.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Israel is studying the impact of stiff international sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Monday.

“Israel is examining the sanctions and their influence on the Israeli economy and policy,” he said.

“Israel will be part of the global effort to send aid to residents of Ukraine,” Lapid said.

“It is part of our historic and moral values to be part of that effort,” he added.

Diplomatic sources denied there was pressure on Israel to take more actions against Russia beyond the US expecting that Jerusalem sign on to its condemnation in the UN Security Council, which Israel did not do, and its UN General Assembly resolution, which Israel supported.

 Servicemen of pro-Russian militia stand next to a military convoy of armed forces of the separatist self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) on a road in the Luhansk region, Ukraine February 27, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO) Servicemen of pro-Russian militia stand next to a military convoy of armed forces of the separatist self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) on a road in the Luhansk region, Ukraine February 27, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

Lapid spoke with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss about the war in Ukraine on Monday.

Lapid said the Foreign Ministry was making an effort to rescue Israelis and Jews from war-torn Ukraine. Thousands of Israelis remain in Ukraine, and about 180,000 Ukrainians are eligible to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, he said.

Lapid commended the efforts of Israeli diplomats to help citizens and Jews leave Ukraine and come to Israel.

Israel has 100 diplomats at Ukraine’s western border crossings, and according to diplomatic sources, Jerusalem has a much larger operation to evacuate its citizens than any other country.

“The Foreign Ministry has been leading one of the most complex operations in the history of the state in the last five days,” Lapid said. “We will do everything not to leave any Israelis or Jews behind. That is why the Jewish state exists; that is our commitment.”

Among the complications of the operation are massive traffic jams on the way to the borders, disruptions in communication infrastructure, and disinformation, he said.

Ukraine has barred citizens ages 16 to 60 from leaving the country, but diplomats at the border crossings have been able to help some Ukrainian-Israelis leave with their families on a case-by-case basis. Single men have not been able to leave, a diplomatic source said.

About 2,000 Israeli citizens have left Ukraine by land since the war began last week, and 4,000 remained as of Monday morning, according to the Foreign Ministry. Israeli diplomats have been posted at border crossings with Poland, Moldova, Romania, and elsewhere.

Israeli diplomats have also allowed friends and family of Israelis onto the buses and have helped citizens of countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations, such as Lebanon.

The Foreign Ministry’s decision to evacuate Jewish Agency staff from Ukraine was hampering efforts to help evacuate Jews, interim Jewish Agency chairman Yaakov Ha'Goel said Monday.

“We are working with our hands tied behind our backs,” he told the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.