Report: Israel barred Russian ship from port because of US ties

Israel denied a request last month to allow a Russian missile ship to anchor in one of its ports because Israel didn’t want to worsen tensions with the United States, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

A senior official in Jerusalem told Haaretz the decision to reject the request was tied to the crisis in Ukraine.

Israeli officials were concerned permitting the Russian ship to anchor at its port in Haifa would worsen its relationship with the United States.

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Officials were also concerned allowing the ship to dock would lead to possible espionage within Israel.

Obama administration officials were reportedly disappointed with Israel’s decision not to endorse a U.S. proposal at the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  

Israel has expressed that it wants to remain neutral in the conflict, and officials figured if Russia’s ship entered its waters, it would indicate Israel was taking sides.

Israel is a major destination for Russian immigrants. In 2008, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics found more than 20 percent of Israel’s Jewish population was Russian.