The Jerusalem Post covered the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Awards for diaspora reporting, noting Israeli Ambassador Michael Brodsky’s keynote remarks on Ukraine during the ceremony.
The war in Ukraine is likely to go on for a long time – and in all probability will get worse before it gets better. This is the assessment of Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky, who is currently on home leave.
In an address on Wednesday night at the annual B’nai B’rith World Center Journalism Awards ceremony that recognizes excellence in Diaspora reportage, Brodsky explained to the audience at the Konrad Adenauer Center in Mishkenot Sha’ananim that although this war is not Israel’s war, in a way it is, because Israel is feeling its impact.
Coincidentally, the ambassador was speaking on the very day that the 30,000th Ukrainian citizen arrived in Israel since the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.
An unpleasant suprise
There had been no anticipation of war until a few days before it actually happened – and even when it did, no one had expected a conflagration of such magnitude, certainly not in Central Europe, said Brodsky, who detoured momentarily to praise the professionalism of Israeli journalists who cover the war, often at risk to their own lives. “They fulfilled their task faithfully,” he said as he outlined some of the hazards they face.
Three days before the war became a reality, he said that found himself in a dilemma. Should he send his staff home to Israel, or keep them in Ukraine to help stranded Israelis, Ukrainian Jews and others who were desperately trying to get to the border?
Of course, they stayed, and they helped in many different ways, regardless of whether the hapless individuals and their families were Jewish or not.
Israel’s involvement and interest in Ukraine
Although this is not a war in which Israel is directly involved, Brodsky continued, Israel is affected, and has to mull over many questions. Should Israel show solidarity with right-minded nations? To what extent can the war escalate? Is there a possibility that it will become nuclear?
Other than the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Uman, Israel has no strategic interests in Ukraine, he noted.
Even when it is dangerous for people to come to pray at the graveside, many persist, he said.
As for Russia, the big question for Israel is whether to be part of the West and its sanctions against Moscow or whether to maintain a strategic relationship with it.
Brodsky left no doubt that Israel is on the side of Ukraine, but cautioned that Jerusalem must be careful in what it says and what it does.