No global expert or observer could have imagined that relations between Russia and Ukraine could get as bad as they got; nobody saw a large-scale war coming.
When the first announcement of Russia's "special military operation" was made on February 24, the fear of a full-scale war was there. A disturbance of this scale could have destructive consequences for the entire region, could endanger the allies of both countries and obviously lead to civilian casualties, including in Jewish communities.
Mediation and diplomacy efforts — including by our own Prime Minister Naftali Bennett — are nice gestures, but experience shows us that they are not enough.
All the players — western countries, Russia, Ukraine — are interacting in an atmosphere of complete mutual distrust, to horrifying degrees. Negotiation efforts have not, so far, led to a peaceful solution.
As a president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, I proposed to Ronald S. Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress an initiative to lead a group of influential world Jewish leaders to mediate the negotiation process to lead to a peaceful solution.
With the WJCs support, consultations have begun to put the plan into place. Time is of the essence.
Peace is our chief interest; it is absolutely necessary to first establish de-escalation — that is the only way that world leaders will agree to scale back the tensions without losing their own authority.
We do still hope that the war will be resolved through diplomacy and are waiting for government leaders to accept our mediation.
Our moral obligation is to do everything we can to achieve the result of de-escalation and peace. Every moment wasted brings grief and suffering to thousands in the heart of Europe.
Our relatives, friends and partners lived in Russia and Ukraine and many of them became refugees and lost their homes. We are ready to do everything possible action to stop death and destruction.