Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to exercise caution with regards to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"These are sensitive and complex days in the global arena. On such days, caution should be exercised. Unfortunately, in recent days we have heard too many unnecessary statements and too many false predictions," Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly Likud faction meeting Monday.
"I call on the government to act responsibly: To talk less about what should not be talked about and to deal much more with the real existential threat to our security, and this is of course Iran's return in the near future to the dangerous nuclear agreement. With regards to this matter specifically, Lapid and Bennett do not say anything and do nothing," the opposition leader claimed.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid vowed Monday that Israel will back a United Nations resolution against Russia's invasion of the Ukraine, and promised Israeli support for the country, calling it an Israeli 'obligation'.
"Today is the fifth day of the war in Ukraine," Lapid said Monday afternoon. "The UN will vote today or tomorrow on a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Israel will cosponsor and vote in favor of the resolution, together with a decisive majority of the world’s countries."
Lapid's declaration Monday is the first time Israel has publicly committed to backing the UN resolution against the Russian invasion.
Hitherto, Israel has avoided direct criticism of Russia, or condemnation of the invasion, even as Israel voiced support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
On Sunday, Lapid made similar comments during a cabinet meeting, telling ministers Israel should vote in favor of the UN resolution against the Russian invasion.
In his statement Monday, Lapid hinted that Israel could join other countries imposing sanctions on Moscow.
"Israel is thoroughly examining the potential impact of sanctions on Russia. We established an inter-ministry team that will examine the effects and consequences of the sanctions on the Israeli economy and policy."
"At the same time, Israel will be part of the international effort to assist the people of Ukraine. We have a moral, historical, and ethical obligation to be part of this effort. Today and tomorrow, three planes will depart Israel for Ukraine with a large shipment of emergency aid. Thousands of coats, blankets, and sleeping bags, medical equipment, tents, and water purification equipment."
"Israel has been and will be on the right side of history. Those are our values. Our most important ally has been and will be the United States, but our American partners also understand there are two points that we need to be mindful of and require us to be careful."
"First, Israel effectively has a security border with Russia. Russia is the most significant military power in Syria, and our cooperation mechanism with them assists in our determined battle against Iranian entrenchment on our northern border."
"The second point, is that about 4,000 Israelis have already left Ukraine with the assistance of Ministry of Foreign Affairs personnel, but there are still thousands of Israelis there, and around 180000 people eligible for the Law of Return."
"Ukraine is home to heavy fighting, but we are obligated to a sacrosanct commitment that we will do everything to not leave any Israeli behind, or any Jew behind. This is why there is a Jewish state. It’s our obligation. It’s not simple. The border crossings are very busy, communication networks are collapsing, and there is a not insignificant amount of inaccurate information. Israelis and Jews are part of a wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees, and this wave grows daily."
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has managed over the past five days one of the most complicated operations in the history of Israel. I had a conversation with a Ministry staff member at the Medyka crossing, on the Poland-Ukraine border. He hadn’t slept for 48 hours and wasn’t the only one."
"This is a significant organizational effort. A diplomatic and political effort. It’s a developing situation that’s very far from ending, but our organizing principle is clear: we are taking care of Israelis, we are taking care of Jews, and our hearts are with the citizens of Ukraine."