Israel Approves Sending Anti-Drone Systems to Ukraine

Per a report by The Cradle, Israel approved an export license for its anti-drone jamming system that will soon be sent to Ukraine in the middle of March. Axios originally broke the story, which cited three Israeli and Ukrainian officials. 

Previously, Israel has been relatively neutral during the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. This owes to Russia’s military presence in neighboring Syria, which has put Israel on its heels. 

What likely put Israel over the edge here is Iran’s decision to allegedly supply Russia with Shahed-136 suicide drones, which are being used across the Ukrainian battlefield. Iran and Israel have been in a de facto “shadow war” over the last three decades. For Israel, sending these drone jamming systems could provide it a live experiment on how effective it could be against Iranian drones in a potential hot conflict with the Islamic Republic. 

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly called for Israel to supply Ukraine with armaments and have made the case that it would be in Israel’s best interest “because Iran is able to gain information about how the drones perform and then make improvements,” per the Axios report.

Iranian authorities have denied reports that it has supplied suicide drones to Russia throughout its controversial military operation.  

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and then-Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved the export licenses of the anti-drone jamming system while Israel evaluated its approach to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for in February, per reports from Israeli and Ukrainian officials. Israeli officials claimed that the review is now finished, but no new decisions have been made by the administration.

Back on February 16, 2023,  Cohen paid a visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and met up with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During this meeting, Cohen promised Zelensky that the Israeli government would send Ukraine an early-warning system within three to six months.

The next week on February 23, Israel joined 140 other UN member nations to vote for a non-binding resolution urging Russia to cease its military operation in Ukraine and pull out its military forces.

It remains to be seen if Israel will fully commit to sending large amounts of military aid to Ukraine. The fact is that in a multipolar world, Israel will have to tread lightly due to how the US will not be as committed to the Middle East and other external actors such as China and Russia will play bigger roles in the region and likely check some of its controversial actions.

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