Zelenskyy tells Israel 'to make its choice' over Iron Dome sale to Ukraine

Ukrainian president questions reluctance to sell missile defence system to his besieged country

A portrait of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is painted on a building in Warsaw, Poland.  Photo: AP
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked Israel for help to push back the Russian assault on his country.

He made the appeal during a video address to Israeli politicians.

In the latest in a series of speeches to foreign legislatures, President Zelenskyy questioned Israel’s reluctance to sell its Iron Dome missile defence system to Ukraine.

“Everybody knows that your missile defence systems are the best ... and that you can definitely help our people, save the lives of Ukrainians, of Ukrainian Jews,” said Mr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish.

He urged Israel to abandon its effort to maintain neutrality and said the time had come for Israel to firmly back his country.

“Ukraine made the choice to save Jews 80 years ago,” he said, a reference to the Holocaust.

“Now it’s time for Israel to make its choice.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has walked a careful diplomatic line since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.

Stressing Israel’s strong ties to Moscow and Kyiv, Mr Bennett has sought to preserve delicate security co-operation with Russia, which has troops in Syria, across Israel’s northern border.

Mr Bennett has held regular phone calls with Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin, including a three-hour meeting at the Kremlin on March 5.

While Ukrainian officials have voiced appreciation for Mr Bennett’s mediation efforts, Mr Zelenskyy implied on Sunday that this had been a mistake.

“We can mediate between states but not between good and evil,” the Ukrainian leader said.

Updated: March 20, 2022, 6:54 PM