Dozens of Israelis, many of them veteran and new olim from Ukraine, are demonstrating today (Thursday) in front of the Russian embassy on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv.
Protesters are urging Putin to halt the Russian invasion of the country, and calling on the west West to increase aid to Ukraine.
During the demonstration, protestors held signs reading “Supporters of a democratic and free Ukraine,“ “Shame, down with Putin’s war,“ and “Israel stands with Ukraine.“ During the event, the national anthems of Israel and Ukraine were played one after the other.
Valery Bloss, 33, a native of Ukraine who made aliyah 18 years ago, recounted last night when he heard about the invasion.
“I have a family there, friends, I grew up there as a child,“ he said. “We want to show that we are standing with with the Ukrainian citizens who want to live in peace. We came to tell Mr. Putin that in the modern world, wars like this are no longer fought.“
“I did not sleep half the night,“ Bloss continued. “My girlfriend, who is a Russian citizen living in Ukraine, is currently in Odessa, and I'm scared. She heard explosions near her, and I do not know what to do.“
Ruslana Mashkov, 30, who came to Israel with her partner in 2015 from the western Ukrainian city of Uzhhorod, called for international support of Ukraine.
“Ukraine is a democratic state, unlike Russia which is a dictatorship,“ she said. “Ukrainians do not want to live in a dictatorship, they want freedom and liberty, elections, freedom of expression, freedom of the press. Ukraine wants to keep all these things, and the West needs to support that. If Russia invades Ukraine, they will not stop there.“
This article was translated from Hebrew by Benji Sharp.