Netanyahu says he will 'look into' supplying weapons to Ukraine if elected

Netanyahu previously warned that Israeli weapons could end up in the hands of Iran if supplied to Ukraine.

Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would "look into" whether or not Israel will supply weapons to Ukraine if he were to return to power after the upcoming election, he told to USA Today on Friday.

He also told them that he expects that he may be asked to be the mediator for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. "If I become prime minister, that question (of mediation) presumable will come up again," he said.

This comes after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kulebo sent an official request for Israel's help and supply of air defense systems. Netanyahu replied saying that the weapons could fall into the hands of Iran.

"On the question of weapons there's always a possibility and this has happened time and again, that weapons that we supplied in one battlefield end up in Iranian hands used against us," he said.

Israel has stayed away from getting too involved in the Russia-Ukraine war.

 Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his new book, ''Bibi: My Story'' (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his new book, ''Bibi: My Story'' (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

"I hope he is having second thoughts about it," Netanyahu said in the USA Today interview referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's "guided vision of reconstructing a great Russian realm."

"I don't want to play psychologist," he continued. "I want to be in the position of being prime minister, getting all the information, then making decisions on what and if we do anything in this conflict beyond what has been done so far."

Netanyahu and the United States

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby confirmed the reports that Iran intended to sell high-precision ballistic missiles to Russia to use against Ukraine last week. He also said that the Pentagon is working with allies to see how they can provide aid to Ukraine. 

"And part of the calculus with which they make these decisions is preserving their own national security," Kirby said. "So, we respect that. And Israel should have the right to speak on what they're willing to do or not willing to do without judgment because it's got to be a decision that they make."

Netanyahu said that Israel is still being criticized by many for not supplying aid to Ukraine.

Israel has been preventing Iran from establishing more military positions within Syria and Lebanon. "I wanted to assue, and did assure, the freedom of action of the Israeli Air Force to basically pummel Iran's positions, military positions that it tried to establish in Syria to open a second terror front against us," Netanyahu told USA Today.

"Israel should have the right to speak on what they're willing to do or not willing to do without judgment because it's got to be a decision that they make."

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby

Two polls show election possibilities

Two polls were conducted, one by KAN news and one by N12, that show that neither Netanyahu nor Lapid would be able to form a coalition unless they join forces.

According to one poll published by KAN news, the Likud party would earn 31 seats while Yesh Atid would earn 25 seats, the Religious Zionist party would earn 14 seats and the National Unity party would earn 11 seats.

The poll showed that Netanyahu's bloc would have 60 seats and the opposing block with 56 seats. 

N12's poll showed the Likud party would earn 30 seats while Yesh Atid would earn 25 seats, the Religious Zionist party would earn 14 seats and the National Unity party would earn 12 seats.

The poll would leave Netanyahu's block with 59 seats and the opposing bloc with 57 seats.

Netanyahu was the longest-serving prime minister in Israel's history. His fifth term ended in June 2021 when Naftali Bennett formed a coalition.