Israel could be next if it does not oppose invasion of Ukraine - opinion

Israel must decide where on the map of the world order it wants to be.

  Israelis protest on behalf of Ukraine outside the Knesset, February 28, 2022.  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israelis protest on behalf of Ukraine outside the Knesset, February 28, 2022.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

In the 21st century, most human beings strive to live their lives quietly, without having to take a stand, take sides or prove their loyalty to one regime or another. These lifestyles, of subjects in a monarchical or dictatorial society, are a thing of the past.

When leaders like Putin seek to establish their power in the occupation of neighboring countries, they threaten not only the peace of their neighbors, but also the freedoms of the citizens in those countries. They seek to pull humanity back to a totalitarian rule that oppresses people. These are things that cannot be agreed upon and every sensible person in a democratic state should raise his voice against them.

It is not acceptable that the imperial thought of an individual will bring about the destruction of nations and individuals. Putin’s current practices in eastern Ukraine to fuel a local conflict, which would become an excuse for invading and occupying Ukraine, are transparent. These are despicable practices, no longer worthy of human society. A Russian invasion of Ukraine would pose a clear threat to Western democracies and their citizens, as well as to young states, which have just emerged from the clutches of the totalitarian collectivism of the Soviet Union, returning and threatening to devour them.

Breaking frameworks is necessary for any creative action. But what Putin wants to do, break through existing agreements, like the Minsk 2015 agreement, shake up and change the existing world order, set new facts for all of humanity, these are unacceptable things, which will not lead to creation, but to destruction.

In the face of Putin’s regressive, nationalist and totalitarian conservatism, the West must fight for its values and political dominance, as well as its validity and survival. It is desirable that this struggle be without bloodshed. However, the results of diplomatic efforts with Russia are that it seems difficult for the West to achieve anything but military opposition to Putin’s steps. The US and NATO alliance must stand firm against Putin’s attempts at imperialism and make it unequivocally clear to him that an aggressive move on his part will endanger his rule and his country.

 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on February 27, 2022. (credit: YOAV ARI DUDKEVITCH/POOL/FLASH90) Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on February 27, 2022. (credit: YOAV ARI DUDKEVITCH/POOL/FLASH90)

In this situation, Israel has a moral obligation to emerge from its dual, cautious and ambiguous position vis-à-vis Moscow. Israel cannot remain neutral, while the future of young democracies in Eastern Europe at risk. There is no excessive wisdom in this. Russia embraces us on the part of Syria and is part of the axis of evil that includes China and Iran. And as my friend, the author Limor Moyal, said to me, once a strong and powerful state makes such a move on a weak and helpless neighboring state and the enlightened world (in the form of the US and NATO alliance) moves on to the agenda a dangerous precedent is set.

If Putin succeeds in Ukraine, China will do it in Taiwan and Iran will do it in Lebanon. Thus, before we understand what happened here, we may find ourselves in World War III. Then, not only the Ukrainians, but also the Israelis may find themselves as refugees under fire. Therefore, Israel must decide where on the map of the world order it wants to be. Israel needs to make it clear that it opposes any such aggressive move on the part of Russia because Israel itself might become one of the next in line.

The writer is an author and poet, recipient of the 2021 Brenner Prize for Literature for his book The Jewish Monk. He is a longstanding activist in the LGBTQ community and the proud single father of ten-year-old twins born by surrogacy in India. They live in Tuval in the Galilee.