Finnish Member of Parliament Peter Östman came to Israel to show his support by being part of the Israel Allies Foundation Chairman’s Conference, which took place this week at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

The conference brought together 24 parliamentarians from around the world in support of Israel.

“The program has been been very [informative] and I have learned more about Israel and about the history of Israel and I have also got many ideas how I with my colleagues can continue to defend the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” Östman tells Israel National News.

With the war going on in Ukraine and Finland bordering Russia, Östman explains that Finland believes it’s vitally important to always be ready as a nation to defend itself.

“Finland has been in the Winter War (the First Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-1940) and in the Second World War and then after this we learned that it's very important for a country like Finland to have your own defense on a good level. We haven't been saving money when it comes to the defense of of the nation,” he says. “We have a strong army and we have a big troop of reservists.”

Does Östman think that Israel should help Ukraine with more than just the humanitarian assistance that is being sent?

“I think that every country needs to help Ukraine,” he comments. “We do it from different levels. Some countries can give humanitarian aid, some countries can deliver weapons, and some others are donating money for the Ukrainian people. I think it's a duty for all nations in the world to help Ukraine.”

Östman sees Israel as well as Finland as potential mediators between Ukraine and Russia.

“I think that Israel could be one of the mediator countries. My home country Finland, our president has a lot of experience with dealing with our neighbors. So I think that a combination of this including also Israel would be a good solution.”

In terms of bringing home the conference’s resolution on implementing the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, Östman explains:

“The Finnish government which was in power through 2015 and 2019 already said that they accept the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. I made a written request in March 2019 and the response from the minister of foreign affairs was quite clear and after this I have tried to make my own research. The Finnish government which is now in power has also included the IHRA working definition on their website which is meant for schools in Finland, how we should educate about antisemitism and the fight against it.”