On the 17th day since Russia invaded his country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said peace talks between Ukraine and Russia should be held in Jerusalem.
“We generally support mediation by anyone,” he said in an answer to a question about Israel’s potential role," Zelenskyy said. “But I wouldn’t call Prime Minister [Naftali] Bennett ‘anyone.’ You can play an important role because Israel is a country with a rich history.”
Since the war began, the two leaders have held several phone calls and Zelenskyy – who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors – has appealed to leaders of the Jewish state and Jewish organizations around the world for support of his nation.
Last Saturday, Bennett flew to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Israel has maintained a careful neutral stance during the conflict while condemning Russia in a United Nations vote but also carefully avoiding criticism of Moscow.
The Russian military has been situated in Syria, on Israel's northern border, for several years maintaining a peace-keeping role and has a tacit understanding with the Jewish state to look the other way when it operates sorties against Iranian targets there.
Zelenskyy that noted Israel was founded by Jews of Ukrainian descent.
"So it’s not bad at all for us to have such mediation,” he said.
Since its founding, Israel has absorbed many immigrants of both Russian and Ukrainian descent.
After the press conference, Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky told Channel 12 News that this idea of holding negotiations in Jerusalem has been raised before.
“The question is not really where but what. If we get to the ‘what,’ then of course there can be a meeting in Jerusalem," he said. "There can be a meeting anywhere, but Jerusalem has symbolic significance, and I think President Zelenskyy is referring precisely to that significance.”
He explained what he believes Zelenskyy meant.
“As a city of all the faiths. A city where individuals and people of different faiths live in coexistence. A city that is equally important for Ukrainians and Russians,” he said.
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS