"Israel is also considering a military solution to the Iranian nuclear issue"
    Conversation with expert Yuri Bocharov

    INTERVIEWS  05 January 2023 - 17:38

    Matanat Nasibova

    Caliber.Az has interviewed Yuri Bocharov, an Israel-based Ph.D. in Political Science and editor of Aziznews.com.

    - In 2022, 70 thousand people repatriated to Israel, more than half of them from Russia. Is this fact welcomed in Israel by the authorities and the population?

    - Israel is a returnees country, ready to receive anyone who has the right to repatriate to the country under the "Law of Return". We don't distinguish between the countries from which immigrants come to us. After all, Russians, Ukrainians, or Kazakhs do not come to us, Jews come to us, and it doesn't matter what generation they come from. We should not forget that since the early 1990s, over 1.2 million new immigrants have come to Israel from CIS countries, including over 350 thousand from Russia. So we welcome everyone who has the right and wants to live, work, and start a family in our country.

    It is also worth noting that due to the formation of the new far-right, religiously inclined government, there is talk of changing parts of the "Law of Return" to reduce the number of repatriates who are not Jewish according to halakha, that is, who are not born of a Jewish mother. But this problem affects all repatriates from all countries of the world.

    - There is an opinion in the expert community that Israel does not intend to send weapons to Ukraine and thereby spoil relations with Russia. What do you have to say about it?

    - Israel, first and foremost, thinks and solves the issues related to its own security and the well-being of its own population. And on the basis of these issues, it builds its relations both with its neighbours and with its partners, including the USA and Russia. And if the main slogan of US presidents is "America First", why is Israel not allowed to declare that its interests prevail over all other interests, and even the interests of our partners? Thanks to Russia's position in Syria, there has been silence on Israel's northern border for several years now, no rockets falling on us and no buses exploding. So why should we change that? We should not forget that everyone has their own war, including Israel. So I have a counter-question: why and in whose interests should Israel participate in someone else's war? That said, I would like to point out that Israel has always been one of the first to help Ukraine with humanitarian aid to the population.

    - How does Israel view Iranian drone deliveries to Russia?

    - Iran openly states that it is ready to destroy Israel, so our country is making great efforts to stop its nuclear program. Israel is considering all kinds of options, including resolving the problem by force, as it has done in the past. In this regard, oddly enough, only Russia can influence Iran and its nuclear programme, without military intervention. As I said earlier, Israel is putting its priorities (with the nuclear programme) first in this situation (with the drones).

    - Please tell us about Israel's view of the opening of the Azerbaijani embassy.

    - We welcome and look forward to it. This step by Baku will open a new page in relations between our countries, and move to more active contacts at the level of private and small businesses. After all, we know very well that optimal working conditions have been achieved between our countries at the level of military supplies, military production, and supply of energy resources, while medium and small Israeli business has not yet reached Azerbaijan. I hope that the embassy will solve this problem as well.

    - Another important point in 2022 is diplomatic reconciliation between Türkiye and Israel.

    - The Israeli embassy in Türkiye has existed with various interruptions for more than half a century, as has the Turkish embassy in Israel, which was opened also in 1950 and then in 1980. This has been the case more than once, depending on the politics of the two countries. Several years ago, ambassadors were recalled again due to the cooling down of our relations. A year ago, thanks to the efforts of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, a direct dialogue began with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which eventually led to a warming of relations and the beginning of our contacts through a number of ministries, including the Foreign Ministry. The current situation in the world, and especially in the Middle East, has made Erdogan more pragmatic when it comes to dealing with his neighbours, as well as with Israel. Israel understands this, but believing that "a worse peace is better than the best of wars", welcomes this development in relations with Türkiye.

    - And finally about the war in Ukraine. How long do you estimate it will last and what might be the outcome?

    - In this conflict, Ukraine has the right to defend and protect its territories, but not its convictions. As a result, too many countries that are not involved in the fighting have a direct stake in the events in Ukraine. Therefore, unfortunately, the issue of peace, or more precisely the terms of peace, will be decided elsewhere and by other politicians, and quite far from the battlefield. And there, apparently, no favourable terms of peace have emerged for them yet, so the confrontation will continue for a long time to come.

    - Should we talk about the geographical expansion of the Ukrainian crisis?

    - Although the United States and its supporters in the European Union are interested in involving as many new actors as possible in the conflict (on their side), they do not want the conflict to expand, let alone spill over into EU territory. This would inevitably lead to World War III with almost unpredictable consequences. Therefore, on the one hand, the United States is interested in the conflict escalating, but only within Ukraine, as it serves its economic interests first and foremost. The geographical expansion of the war in Ukraine leads to the virtual impoverishment of Europe. And in the long term, the energy and economic crisis in Europe will further the prosperity of America and its hegemony in the world.


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