It’s not everyday that one reads such a shocking headline as this in a major Israeli daily paper: Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
An investigative report in Haaretz, Israel’s longest running and arguably most influential newspaper, details a broad campaign underway by over 40 human rights leaders to pressure Israel’s High Court of Justice to order the cessation of Israeli arms exports to Ukraine, as they argue militant neo-Nazi groups are among the recipients of those weapons.
According to Haaretz’s investigation:
They argue that these weapons serve forces that openly espouse a neo-Nazi ideology and cite evidence that the right-wing Azov militia, whose members are part of Ukraine’s armed forces, and are supported by the country’s ministry of internal affairs, is using these weapons.
An earlier appeal to the Defense Ministry was met with no response.
The ministry’s considerations in granting export licenses for armaments are not disclosed to the public, but it appears that the appearance of Israeli weapons in the hands of avowed neo-Nazis should be a consideration used in opposing the granting of such a license.
We’ve covered the infamous Azov Battalion many times before, and though it took the mainstream media years to catch up to this story, the group is so openly and unrepentantly pro-Nazi that even US Congress was forced to take notice while ironically at the same time directly propping up their political patrons in the pro-EU/US Kiev government that Washington helped install in 2014.
In terms of the extent of covert Israeli support to such groups as the neo-Nazi Azov Battallion, Haaretz lists as examples high level meetings between Ukrainian military officials and Israeli defense companies, especially involving contracts related to communications systems, warplanes, and helicopters; as well as Tel Aviv’s approval for the Ukrainian company Fort to produce Tavor, Negev, and Galil rifles under Israeli contract; and further IDF officers and instructors overseeing military training schools that include Azov militiamen; and perhaps most shocking a Ukrainian media interview which featured a former Israeli army officer who admitted to participating in battles in eastern Ukraine while also training militiamen.
There’s also of course the fact that Azov Battalion itself has never been shy about showing of its Israeli military hardware in social media photographs and videos.
The official Avoz YouTube channel has posted “review” videos of locally made Tavor rifles produced under Israeli contract: