According to Bloomberg, Israel has offered to help Ukraine design an early warning system for rockets and missiles, but they will not provide them with weapons. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said to that news outlet, “We have sent a request to the Ukrainians to share information about their needs for air defense alerts.” This is part of Israel’s promise to provide the warring nation with “life-saving defense equipment.”
Thus far, they have not sent any offensive weapons to Ukraine or imposed economic sanctions against Russia. However, this report has me scratching my head because The Jerusalem Post has quoted Defense Minister Gantz as saying, “Tel Aviv does not have the production capabilities to provide Ukraine with air defense systems.”
Who do we believe, Bloomberg or The Jerusalem Post? Is this all part of the “fog of war” bleeding over to the press? One thing is for sure; since the war’s earliest days, Kyiv has been imploring Tel Aviv to help them out by providing them with its Iron Dome Defense System.
Almost one month ago, the Kremlin announced that any actions by Israel to assist Ukraine’s military forces would harm Russo-Israeli relations. Israel is firmly on the fence in this conflict, doing its best to maintain positive relations with Putin and Moscow. You see, Israel needs the Russians to continue their air strikes in Syria, a country where they also attack “Iranian-linked” targets. Russia still maintains troops in Syria, as does the United States. So, yes, it’s a bit complicated. However, Israel states they also wish to maintain good relations with Russia because of the many Jewish people living there. They do not want a return to the cold war days when Soviet Jews were primarily forced to sever ties with Isreal.
Ukrainian President Zelensky, Jewish, is quite upset with this neutrality policy. He has often spoken strongly about Israel’s refusal to condemn Russian aggression.
Deputy Chair of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, in The Times of Isreal, has warned the nation against sending weaponry to Ukraine. He states, “It seems Israel will supply weapons to the Kyiv regime. A very reckless move. It will destroy all diplomatic relations between our countries.” To further muddy the waters, The Cradle is reporting that they have confirmation that an Israeli security company has sold anti-drone systems to the Ukrainian Army. These systems are supposed to be capable of interception and jamming the signals controlling enemy combat drones. However, their source tells them these signal jamming systems are routed through Poland to hide their origin.
Despite their self-imposed prohibition against sending offensive weapons to Ukraine, there have been reports this week that Israeli-made Gaia Amir Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles have been spotted in that nation.
#Ukraine: To make today even more notable- for the first time ever Ukrainian forces were spotted using Israeli-made military vehicles! Here we see an Israeli GAIA Amir MRAP 🇮🇱, currently deployed in #Kherson Oblast.
There is no information how these vehicles appeared in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/yhoAH8J30M
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) November 11, 2022
At this point, no one is quite sure how they got there. Barak Ravid, a diplomatic correspondent with Axios, Middle East, replied to the Tweet above by saying, “A senior Israeli official told me that Israel had not given permission to sell or transfer this armored vehicle to Ukraine. According to him, apparently, a European country that purchased this vehicle in the past transferred it to Ukraine without Israeli approval.” – Translated from the original Hebrew by Google.
Speaking of Twitter here is footage from that platform, provided by @TheCradleMedia, purportedly showing an Israeli Made Gaia Amir being destroyed by a Russian Lancet suicide missile in Ukraine.
VIDEO: Israeli-made armored vehicles destroyed by Russia
— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) November 13, 2022
On their website, The Cradle reports that the Amir MRAPs have been seen near Kherson, sporting the colors of the Ukrainian armed forces. So maybe we should pause now to answer the question, “What is an Amir MRAP?” Gaia automotive industries in Israel make them. According to them, the vehicles are multi-purpose, 4-wheel drive armored vehicles capable of carrying up to 12 people. The site lists its typical applications as follows:
- Rapid Intervention
- Personal Transport
- Logistics Transport
The footage of this Amir sporting Ukrainian colors was supposedly taken near Kherson. Video courtesy of YouTube
This vehicle, in and of itself, is clearly not what one would consider a weapon. Not unless you directly ram something with it. It is built on a commercial Ford F550 chassis…the same one you can pick up at your local Ford dealership.
As we can see in the photo above, these vehicles can clearly be modified to carry weapons that can be used in an offensive or defensive manner. How will Ukraine utilize its recently acquired armored personnel carriers? Only time will tell.