Israel delivers helmets and flak jackets to Ukraine in possible policy shift

The 2,000 helmets and 500 flak jackets will be distributed to Ukrainian civilian organizations and rescue workers.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

A delivery of Israeli helmets and flak jackets were sent off to Ukraine on Wednesday in what appears to be a shift in Jerusalem’s position on the Russian invasion.

The Defense Ministry announced it had sent 2,000 helmets and 500 flak jackets which will be distributed to Ukrainian civilian organizations and rescue workers.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of  February, Israel has sent some 100 tons of humanitarian aid such as medical supplies, clothes, blankets and water purification systems and operated a field hospital in western Ukraine. The field hospital was shut down at the end of April following a six-week mission.

However, Israel has also refrained from sending military equipment.

Jerusalem’s criticism of Russia has been muted so as not to jeopardize security arrangements which give the Israeli Air Force freedom to strike Iranian targets in Syria.

However, Jerusalem-Moscow ties have been strained by the war. Reports of widespread atrocities have created pressure on Israeli officials to take a stronger position against Russia.

Relations were further strained when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made antisemitic comments blaming Jews for the Holocaust and claiming Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was of Jewish descent. President Vladimir Putin apologized to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the comments. The apology, which was disclosed by Bennett’s office, has not been confirmed by Moscow.

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According to Hebrew media reports, Israel continues to rule out sending Ukraine advanced military weapons and systems, such as  the Iron Dome missile defense system, aerial drones or other electronic equipment.

However, Israel was among 43 countries which participated in a US-led summit which sought ways to provide arms to Ukraine.