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Bennett, Putin discuss Iran, airstrikes in Syria in five-hour meeting

CM 22/10/2021


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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed on the continuation of current policy regarding Israeli airstrikes in Syria in their Sochi meeting on Friday.
The meeting between the Israeli and Russian heads of state lasted five hours, leaving Bennett in Russia for Shabbat.
Construction and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who also acts as the ministerial liaison to the Knesset, accompanied Bennett to his Sochi meeting.
“The meeting was as warm and intimate as any over the last decade,” Elkin said in a press briefing following the meeting. “The dialogue between the prime minister and the president was very warm, they also spoke on personal matters,” Elkin said, adding such matters do not usually come up at such high-level meetings.
Bennett and Putin discussed efforts to halt Iran’s military nuclear program and agreed on the establishment of a task force to find solutions for Russian tourists to enter Israel, with the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine yet to gain approval from the FDA.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid congratulated the two on the successful meeting on Twitter, adding that he has spoken to Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and invited him to Israel.
Bennett’s planned schedule was to meet with Putin at 10 a.m. and fly back to Israel at 1 p.m., without an overnight stay. However, the meeting went on for an additional two hours, and then Putin took Bennett for a tour of the grounds of his vacation home in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.
Bennett observes Shabbat, and Israeli prime ministers have traditionally not traveled on the Sabbath. His trip to Washington in August was also extended until Saturday night, after a terrorist attack took place in Kabul, killing US servicemen, and US President Joe Biden postponed their meeting from Thursday to Friday.

 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russia President Vladimir Putin meeting, October 22, 2021. (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO) Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russia President Vladimir Putin meeting, October 22, 2021. (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Earlier, Putin referred to problems between Russia and Israel at the start of his first meeting with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Sochi on Friday.
“There are a lot of problematic topics, but there are also points of contact and opportunities for cooperation, especially in relation to fighting terror,” Putin said.
The Russian president’s remarks come as his government has been pushing Iran to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, and amid hitches in the Israel-Russia deconfliction mechanism in Syria.
“Israel has a million ambassadors, a million Russian-speaking Israelis, who are a great contribution to Israel’s culture, as well as the mentality they bring here of hard work, power, strength,” Bennett said.
Bennett said his meeting with Putin is “based on the deep connection between the two nations. We see you as a real friend of the Jewish people.”
Putin said that he hopes, “despite the political problems in Israel,” that Jerusalem will continue its approach to Moscow.
“We had good business relations with the previous government, and we are happy to host the prime minister of Israel here in Russia,” he stated.
The Israeli prime minister referred to the Red Army’s role in defeating Nazi Germany, an important matter for Putin, and Israel’s efforts to commemorate that history, such as the memorial in Jerusalem for those who perished in the siege of Leningrad, which Putin dedicated last year.
“As a student of history, one must appreciate the courage in those difficult years for the entire Russian nation,” Bennett stated.
Israel and Russia mark 30 years of diplomatic relations this year. The countries established full ties after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The prime minister had considered authorizing tourists who had received the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine against COVID-19 to enter Israel, over the objections of the Health Ministry, as a gesture to Putin.
The visit also comes amid friction in the deconfliction mechanism between Israel and Russia in Syria, where the Russian Army maintains a presence. Israel attacks Iranian targets in Syria in order to stop Iran and its proxies from establishing bases on Israel’s northern border or transferring weapons to Hezbollah.
In August, the Russian military in Syria said its air-defense systems had shot down 22 of 24 missiles launched by Israel into Syria. Two weeks later, a Russian-made missile launched from Syria landed in central Israel.
Tal Spungin contributed to this report.

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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