Israel has rejected as US request that it transfer advanced anti-tank missiles manufactured in Germany and based on Israeli technology to Ukraine's forces, according to defense officials quoted in Axios.
The plan was to use Israel as a third party to "allow Berlin to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles produced in Germany with Israeli technology under an Israeli license," the report indicates.
Israeli defense leaders reportedly informed undersecretary of defense for policy Colin Kahl in a recent meeting that Tel Aviv would only supply nonlethal military aid to Kiev. Kahl had specifically requested that Israel greenlight the transfer of "Spike" anti-tank missiles, which are made in an Israeli-owned factory in Germany.
Recently Israel only supplied a shipment of 2,000 helmets and 500 protective vests, which were not even designated for military use, but instead intended for emergency responders.
Tel Aviv has long sought to be careful about not angering Russia, given the two countries' interests butt up against each other inside Syria, and relatedly Israel needs Russia's help on the issue of Iranian influence and expansion in the region.
So far the Israelis are said to still be committed providing nonlethal military aid as they continue to come under pressure from Washington.
It was revealed starting early this month that US and Israeli officials held meetings at Ramstein Air Base in which the US side pressured the Israelis to step up their support to the Ukrainians. So far - at least in public anyway - the answer has been a resounding "no" even as Israel-Russia relations have been deteriorating of late.
Unfortunately, #Israel has rejected the #US request and banned #Germany from supplying Spike missiles to Ukraine.#Israel is worried about its interests in #Syria, so the position of this state towards Putin's aggression in Ukraine is, as we can see, ambiguous. pic.twitter.com/okeSjQTzW7— Kira Rudik (@kiraincongress) May 26, 2022
But likely Tel Aviv doesn't want to see this relationship plummet further, and hopes for some level of cooperation in the region, particularly regarding the entrenchment of Iranian influence. Russia and Israel have a very delicate status quo understanding regarding military action in Syria, and upsetting this could have severe implications for Israeli security priorities.