Ukrainian diplomacy is starting to feel like being accosted by a homeless man on the subway. “Give me a buck, give me a smoke, I need a dog.”
When it comes to Israel, Zelensky’s people made it sound like he was demanding Iron Dome.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his address to MKs and cabinet ministers by videoconference on Sunday evening to complain about Israel not doing enough to help his country since Russia invaded.
Pleading for Israel to impose sanctions on Russian businesses, he asked, “Why has Israel refrained from sanctions on Russia? Israel needs to give answers to these questions, and after that, live with them.”
Why has Ukraine refrained from sanctions on Iran and is one of the major trading partners of a terror state trying to kill millions of Jews.
Zelensky begged Israel to send its Iron Dome missile-defense system to protect Ukrainian civilians from Russian airstrikes. He praised the Iron Dome as the best missile-defense system in the world and complained that Israel was not even supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons.
Iron Dome is great for what it does which is stop terrorist groups from firing fairly crude rockets at Israel even in great volume. It’s not meant to stop an assault by a world power. Someone in the Ukrainian military presumably understands that, but Zelensky and his people are really good at propaganda but uninterested in minor details like that.
And now we get more irrational demands.
Andriy Yermak, Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, said Thursday that while the Ukrainian president appreciates Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Benett’s mediation efforts, he wants more Israeli political support, weapons and the Pegasus spyware.
Ukraine is in the middle of a ground war with Russia. Why does it need spyware? Is loading spyware going to stop Russian tanks?
Israel has two very good reasons for not allowing the NSO group to sell a license to Ukraine.
1. Ukraine is the epicenter of a lot of global black hat hacking activities. Some of those are entwined with the government. The last thing Israel or the NSO Group, which is already facing a lot of controversy, wants is to have Pegasus out in the wild being used by criminal hacking groups.
This is what the Russians effectively did with NSA hacking tools, leaking them through Cozy Bear, and doing enormous reputational damage.
And considering the Russians have plenty of intel assets in Ukraine, licensing Pegasus to Ukraine means giving it to Russia.
2. Iran is a major target for any Israeli cyberwarfare. Considering Ukraine’s ties to Iran, not giving it access to cyberwarfare tools is a smart strategic move to keep Iranians from learning how Israel does things. Considering that Israel has largely relied on cyberwarfare to slow down Iran’s nuclear program, that’s sensible. If Ukraine wants Pegasus, then it could start by cutting its ties with Iran.