As Ukraine war continues, Israel grapples with fate of oligarchs14 March 2022 ❤ 2
Several dozen Jewish oligarchsfrom Russia are believed to have taken on Israeli citizenship or residency in recent years. Many have good working relations with the Kremlin, and at least four Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and Viktor Vekselberg have been sanctioned internationally because of their allegedconnections to Putin.
Israel, which has becomean unlikely mediator between Ukraine and Russia, has not joined the sanctions imposed by the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union and others. But as the war in Ukraine drags on, and other names are added to the list, the pressure is increasing.
In an interview with Israels Channel 12 TV station over the weekend, the US under-secretary of state for political affairs, Victoria Nuland, called on Israel to join the group of countries that have sanctioned Russia.
What we are asking among other things is for every democracy around the world to join us in the financial and export control sanctions that we have put on Putin, she said. You dont want to become the last haven for dirty money thats fuelling Putins wars.
Aaron David Miller, a now-retired veteran US diplomat, said on Twitter that Nulands comments were the toughest battering of Israeli policy since crisis began or of any policy in very long while.
Israel, founded as a haven for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, grants automatic citizenship to anyone of Jewish descent. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, an estimated one million Jews from Russia and other former Soviet republics have moved to Israel. In recent years, a growing number of tycoons from the former Soviet Union have joined them.