And that raises the question: why does the U.S. tolerate this misuse of tax-payer dollars?
Israel blocked Ukraine from buying NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware for fear that Russian officials would be angered by the sale of the sophisticated hacking tool to a regional foe, according to people familiar with the matter.
The revelation, following a joint investigation by the Guardian and Washington Post, offers new insight into the way Israel’s relationship with Russia has at times undermined Ukraine’s offensive capabilities – and contradicted US priorities.
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been critical of Israel’s stance since Russia launched its full and bloody invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, saying in a recent address before members of Israel’s Knesset that Israel would have to “give answers” on why it had not given weapons to Ukraine or applied sanctions on Russians.
People with direct knowledge of the matter say that, dating back to at least 2019, Ukrainian officials lobbied Israel to try to convince it to license the spyware tool for use by Ukraine.
But those efforts were rebuffed and NSO Group, which is regulated by the Israeli ministry of defense, was never permitted to market or sell the company’s spyware to Ukraine.