August traditionally is considered low season, so the first 20 years of the visit of the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is a gift to the media and various policy experts.
Interest in the event was fueled by the fact that Bibi called it at home – the first major foreign leader, Vladimir Zelensky took in as President of Ukraine. Not to mention the uniqueness of the situation – the head of the Jewish state which has committed hundreds of foreign voyages, hardly ever visited the country, the President and Prime Minister are Jewish.
And it is quite an unexpected bonus information was the behavior of the wife of the Israeli Prime Minister, threw to the ground the crumbs from the traditional loaf which was presented to the distinguished guests at the ramp. The result was the anti-Semitic comments on social networks, the statement of the Ukrainian side about the fact that Mrs. Netanyahu did not intend to show disrespect to our country and the reaction of the Prime Minister, they say, if not “the bread incident”, the visit wouldn’t have had such a broad media coverage.
You can argue with this, but as you know, in every joke… so what we have in the dry residue after the visit, which has already been called historic?
First of all, we must understand that both parties pursued mainly political interests. September 17th, Israel will hold early parliamentary elections, the outcome of which will largely prejudge “Russian” voice. The same voice, the rate at which makes the party leader “Israel Our home”, a native of Chisinau, Avigdor Lieberman. Recall that it was his refusal this spring to enter into a coalition with the party of the incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu and led to the early elections to the Knesset. Lieberman’s electoral base – not just immigrants from countries of the former USSR. A significant proportion of them are pensioners who, being in Israel at the age of 50+, did not earn a pension in the new country.
While many have the right to receive pensions from Ukraine, an intergovernmental agreement was signed over a decade ago, but still not ratified by the Russian Parliament. Despite the difference in living standards between Ukraine and Israel, the money would not be superfluous in the pockets of the elderly, and Israeli politician who achieved the legitimate payment, would have received the additional votes of voters – immigrants from Ukraine. Netanyahu understands this, and therefore secured the promise Zelensky to promote the ratification of the agreement in the Parliament of the new convocation. A win-win situation – the Prime Minister of Israel (almost) decided painful to the electorate the question, and the President of Ukraine has nothing to lose – it is obvious that before the elections to the Knesset, the new Parliament will not have time to consider this, to put it mildly, not a key question. Moreover, to begin with, to have something to give to someone (albeit legally) – not in traditions of our legislators.
In turn, Vladimir Zelensky called on Israel to recognize the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people. And it is also a part of the domestic agenda, has long been known that the Knesset does not make decisions concerning problems of historical memory. Similar attempts were made in just a year and a half ago a member of the Knesset, Druze ethnic Akram Hasson introduced colleagues a bill to recognize the Holodomor of 1932 – 1933 as genocide, and on December 6 to declare an official day of remembrance of the victims of the Holodomor. The initiative came to nothing. Around the same time, the Israeli Parliament rejected a bill on recognition of the Armenian genocide. No one in Israel disputes the famine as a tragedy, first of all, the Ukrainian people, and the Armenian genocide, no one would think to deny it – in time for the 100th anniversary of the 1915 events Jerusalem sent to Yerevan the official delegation. However, at the level of the Knesset decided to distance themselves from consideration of such issues, and in Kiev know it.
As you know in Israel that the transfer of the Embassy to Jerusalem, as Netanyahu asked the Ukrainian President, extremely unlikely. This request again is designed for an Israeli audience – even close to the head of the government, the Minister of environment, who comes from Kharkov, Zeev Elkin acknowledges that the maximum of what can be discussed – the opening of the Jerusalem cultural centres and trade missions, as did the Czech Republic and Hungary. Ambassador of Ukraine to Israel Gennady Nadolenko stressed that the Embassy will remain in tel Aviv, and the parties, they say, meant the opening of the innovation offices in Jerusalem and Kiev, which will work to develop technological cooperation. About it the head of state actually said at a joint briefing, but between the innovation office and the diplomatic mission – a huge distance, so there is an attempt to gently “pull” with uncomfortable for Kiev, topics, knowing that the transfer of our Embassy to Jerusalem will cause a sharp reaction in Europe.
Raised during the visit and the topic of “airport wars” – despite the visa-free regime, several thousand Ukrainians wrapped last year at the airport. Ben-Gurion (about 10% of Ukrainian tourists become illegal immigrants, – M. G.). Similar problems began and arriving in the Ukraine Israelis in Borispol, although the guards have denied the version about the “answer”. Situation, but it’s more or less correct in the beginning of July – at the meeting of interior Minister of Ukraine Arsen Avakov with the Israeli colleague Aryeh Deri.
Symbols of the economic component of the visit was communication Netanyahu with Prime Minister Groisman (whose government a week to resign) and the agreement on free trade Area has already been ratified by the Verkhovna Rada and signed by the President. So here without sensationalism. However, negotiations on the FTA has been for many years and that the agreement finally signed, is already a positive factor. Noting that the trade turnover between Ukraine and Israel has exceeded one billion dollars, Vladimir Zelensky said that it expects to increase this figure thanks to the FTA. A lot or a little – a billion dollars? For comparison, our trade with Hungary amounted last year to about EUR 4 billion. Despite the fact that the country’s GDP by about two times less than Israel.
However, this only shows that the potential for growth is huge. Although not everything depends on the legislative framework. So, a few years ago there was an intergovernmental agreement on the legal transition to working in Israel, twenty thousand construction workers from Ukraine is the biggest quota for employment in this country. But, as stated in interview to the newspaper “Hadashot” Ambassador Gennady Nadolenko, an Israeli company, officially secretiruema professionals in Ukraine in this program for the first ten months of the agreement, “chose” less than 200 specialists. As of April of this year, only 129 of the Ukrainian builders working in Israel. Despite the fact that the country lacks about 40,000 workers.
All this does not mean that the experts, dubbed the visit of the historical a priori wrong. Israel is a technological superpower and one of the closest allies of the United States – both for Ukraine is crucial. So, if the new Ukrainian leadership to fully be able to implement those, while the opportunities opened by the visit of the Prime Minister of Israel, they have a chance to make history.