It was a chilly Saturday night in the holy city. “Putin wants more than the Ukraine,” a young Israeli told his friend waiting online to eat at the Rimon Restaurant in the Mamilla Mall. “Absolutely not,” retorted the friend. “Look, my parents came from the Ukraine and they always felt that Russia would be back to claim the Ukraine. The argument segued into whether Israel should criticize the Russians or stay neutral.
With several hundred thousand Ukrainians living in Israel and double that of Russians, Israelis have a hard time discerning between the nationals of both countries. Mostly, the Russian speaking Jews with the yarmulkes at the restaurant were behaving like most Israelis on a Saturday night, enjoying the night out with friends at a good kosher restaurant.