Jerusalem has been cautious these past few days over Israel's mediation efforts between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, first reported just two weeks ago. Celebrated by associates of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the beginning, they now try keeping a low profile on the issue.
True, Bennett continues to juggle lengthy phone calls with the two leaders, and the Financial Times reported this week that Bennett “has been the primary international mediator on the talks.” Still, officials in Jerusalem are silent. “We did not brief the Financial Times,” one close Bennett aide told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “The report came from their correspondent in Europe and we have no reaction to it.” Meanwhile, reports persist of a Russian proposal — the gist of which was published here over a week ago — to Ukraine and progress in their negotiations. Israel is not optimistic at this stage and Bennett’s people are trying to downplay his role, perhaps fearing an expected failure that could tarnish his reputation, or as part of Israel’s stated “measured policy” toward both sides since the start of the war.