Another crack appeared in Russian-Israeli relations, this time in front of the whole world, as Israel, which has avoided taking sides in the Ukrainian crisis, voted against Russia at the U.N. on Tuesday.
Israel voted in support of a General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s Ukraine policies. The resolution passed by a vote of 66-19, with 72 abstentions.
The Israeli vote suggested a tit-for-tat retaliation for a recent Russian vote in the UNGA that went against a resolution condemning Hamas, for which Israel and the U.S. had been working hard. Russia often abstains on votes in the General Assembly that are important for Israel.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson would not comment on whether the two votes were connected, and gave no explanation for the Israeli decision, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The resolution voiced “grave concern over the progressive militarization of Crimea” and called on Moscow to “end its temporary occupation of Ukraine’s territory.”
Moscow has in the past expressed appreciation for Israeli neutrality regarding Ukraine, though with veiled warnings that a change in policy could harm bilateral relations.
Thus, ambassador to Israel Alexander Shein in 2014 lauded Israel’s neutrality, and said he hopes this “reflects the fact that Israel cares for the future of its relations with Russia.”