Most people at some point in their daily lives have experienced that annoying moment when a "friend" invites themselves over, typically at an inconvenient time, maybe for dinner or an intrusive lengthy conversation.
Perhaps that's what the Israelis may be feeling after suffering one of the worst disasters in their history, as on Wednesday Axios is out with the following exclusive story: Zelensky asks to visit Israel in show of solidarity.
Two Ukrainian officials have told Axios that Zelensky, who is Jewish, wants to travel to Israel as a "show of solidarity" amid the Gaza war and as Israel is reeling from the weekend terror attacks by Hamas. Israeli officials have also confirmed the request to the publication.
"Zelensky's office sent an official request to the Israeli Prime Minister's office asking to coordinate a visit, the Ukrainian and Israeli officials said," the report says.
As soon as the Saturday Hamas assault on the Nova Trance music festival and area Jewish settlements began, the entire world and all major international media outlets became transfixed on developments in Israel and Gaza.
Pro-Israel as well as pro-Palestinian protests and counterprotests immediately sprang up in the US and Europe. Facebook profile flags were also switched in the blink of an eye - from Ukrainian to Israeli flags... it's almost as if the public masses in the West "forgot" about Ukraine, as the Israel-Gaza war enters day five.
It seems the pro-Ukraine cause in general, including efforts in Congress and by the Biden administration to keep the billions in aid flowing, has been sapped of its prior enthusiasm and momentum. Zelensky, having been suddenly removed from the spotlight, now appears to be seeking to link his cause with Israel's, the cynic might say.
Axios noted, "A visit by Zelensky would boost international support for Israel's counteroffensive against Hamas in Gaza"--or perhaps it will in Zelensky's own mind at least.
Zelensky made a surprise visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday to issue a solidary statement in support of Israel...
Zelensky: I urge all leaders to visit Israel and show their support for the people pic.twitter.com/knbqF1TQwp— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) October 11, 2023
"In the face of such a terrorist strike, everyone who values life must stand in solidarity ... Israel has the full right to defend itself against terror," Zelensky had said in a statement that came shortly after the Saturday Hamas attack.
Time will tell if this visit of the Ukrainian president will materialize. There's as yet no date, and the Israelis are, well... very busy at the moment. Likely much too busy to have to roll out the red carpet for Zelensky to do a Tel Aviv photo op.
Some pundits have said that underlying this is a scramble for valuable US foreign aid, which could be diverted to Israel...
🇺🇦🇮🇱 Zelensky is furious he’s losing attention and US foreign aid to Israel. pic.twitter.com/I5FlV5KnzS— Jackson Hinkle 🇺🇸 (@jacksonhinklle) October 11, 2023
But the Pentagon has sought to calm Kiev's fears, promising in a new statement there's enough aid to go around:
The secretary of defense said Wednesday that the Pentagon is able to continue providing aid to Ukraine in its war against Russian invasion and also support Israel after a Hamas attack Saturday sparked a new and bloody war there.
"Absolutely, we can do both, and we will do both," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters at a press conference Wednesday in Germany, where he appeared with newly confirmed Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Charles "C.Q." Brown to announce the 48th aid package to Ukraine.
But already public support for 'endless' support or 'blank check' funds to Ukraine was waning, and now as all eyes are on the Middle East, it is likely to further fade. After all, the major news networks have suddenly dropped their coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war, airing instead 24/7 updates on Israel, Gaza bombardments, and the plight of the over 100 hostages taken by Hamas.