Israel condemns Russia's war on Ukraine at UNGA, but top envoy doesn't speak

Deputy Ambassador Noa Furman spoke of her countries strong relations with both Moscow and Ukraine and said that it was wiling to use those relations to help mediate a cease fire.

 Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the UN Noa Furman speaks during the 11th emergency special session of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York City, US, March 1, 2022.  (photo credit: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)
Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the UN Noa Furman speaks during the 11th emergency special session of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York City, US, March 1, 2022.
(photo credit: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)

Israel condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations General Assembly, but its top envoy Gilad Erdan did not take the podium to deliver the message.

"We have condemned it and we call upon Russia to heed the calls of the international community to stop the attack and respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," Deputy Ambassador Noa Furman said.

She was one of 78 speakers who had taken the floor as of Tuesday afternoon, during a special emergency session in New York called under a mechanism called "uniting for peace" which allows the body to skirt the UN Security Council.

Furman spoke of her countries strong relations with both Moscow and Ukraine and said that it was wiling to use those relations to help mediate a cease fire.

"Given our deep ties with both sides, we are willing to contribute to the diplomatic effort if so requested and have been trying to do so in the last couple of weeks.

Israeli Ambassador to the US and the UN Gilad Erdan at a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, May 25, 2021.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Israeli Ambassador to the US and the UN Gilad Erdan at a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, May 25, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

"Israel expresses its concern for the safety of the people of Ukraine, including the numerous Israeli citizens living there and the sizable Jewish communities in the effected areas. 

"We are gravely concerned by the growing humanitarian crisis. In that regard Israel is providing a hundred of ton of humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, including medical supplies, water purification systems emergency water supply kits and winter gear," she said.

Furman said it was important to "resolve the crisis through peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter."

Israel has charted a carefully choreographed path when it comes to condemnation of Russia, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemning the invasion, while Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has spoken of his support for Ukraine.

Israel did not join the dozens of countries who were signatories to the US backed UNSC resolution condemning Russia. The Russian envoy blocked the text passage by wilding his country's veto power, a move which prompted the US to push the matter to the UNGA which is expected to vote on a resolution once some 115 speakers have taken the podium..

A diplomatic source in Jerusalem said that Erdan did not give the speech out of concern that he would not stick to the government's message.

On Monday, at the start of the UNGA meeting, Erdan walked up to his Ukrainian counterpart and the two men affectionately put their arms around each other.

The ambassador had not consulted with anyone in Jerusalem before doing so and distributing a video of it to the press.