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Israel is considering sending its Iron Dome air defense system to Ukraine, Netanyahu says

israel iron dome gaza rocketsIsrael’s Iron Dome interceptors seen on the left as rockets are launched from Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, on May 14, 2021.

Anas Baba/AFP via Getty Images

  • Israel is looking into sending its Iron Dome system to Ukraine, Prime Minister Netanyahu said. 
  • Israel has a complex relationship with Russia and has so far held off aiding Ukraine militarily.
  • But Netanyahu now says he is open to considering Ukraine’s request. 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his government is considering sending its Iron Dome to Ukraine.

The Iron Dome is arguably the world’s most advanced missile defense system, designed to intercept barrages of rockets and artillery shells.

In an interview with French TV outlets TF1 and LCI broadcast on Sunday, Netanyahu was asked about sending the missile defense system to Ukraine, in response to the country’s continuing appeals for military support. 

He told the interviewer: “I’m looking into it. I said I’m looking into it and I’m doing just that,” echoing a statement he made to CNN last week.

While it has sent equipment like helmets and protective vests, as well as humanitarian aid, Israel’s government has so far held off on sending lethal military aid to Ukraine.

Ukraine made a formal request to Israel for Iron Dome and other high-tech defense weaponry in October last year, as The Times of Israel reported.

Asked when Israel might make a decision, Netanyahu — who only re-entered office as the country’s prime minister in late December — said he had to establish his government first. 

“I wouldn’t make any firm commitment,” he said.

Israel's Prime Minsiter designate Benjamin Netanyahu presents the new government to parliament at the Knesset in Jerusalem on December 29, 2022 in what analysts described as the most right-wing coalition in Israel's history.Israel’s then-Prime Minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu presents his new government to the Knesset in Jerusalem on December 29, 2022.

Amir Cohen/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has a complex relationship with Russia over both countries’ activities in Syria, as Insider’s Jake Epstein reported. This is likely to be part of the calculation.

Russia wields considerable military control in Syria, but appears to tolerate Israel’s activities targeting groups there that have ties to Israel’s regional foe, Iran, experts told Insider.

In late January, drones struck an Iranian defense manufacturing site in an attack that the Pentagon has attributed to Israel. Iran has been accused of supplying drones and other weaponry to Russia, which are then being used to attack Ukrainian infrastructure and troops. 

Asked about the attack, Netanyahu stopped short of denying responsibility, but gave no definitive answer as to whether Israel was responsible. 

He also said he respected the US decision in January to transfer 300,000 155 mm shells from its stockpile in Israel to Ukraine, even while calling it “a pretty big drawdown.”

Read the original article on Business Insider