Facing Iran, Israel’s leaders are approaching Putin

RAMALLAH: Israel’s new government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to restore close ties with Russia in a bid to counter Moscow’s increasingly friendly relationship with Iran, analysts say.

At least one observer believes that Russian support for Iran could pose a threat to future Israeli security operations against Iranian targets in Syria.

On January 3, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, after a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, asked his colleagues in the Council of Ministers to refrain from commenting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

He indicated that the new government will talk less about the war, which means Israel will refrain from condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, a position taken by former Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

“It is clear that the relationship between Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been warmer for many years than the relationship between Lapid and former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with Putin,” said Atlantic Council resident Ksenia Svetlova. former member of the Israeli parliament, Arabic News.

Netanyahu is also reportedly upset with President Volodymyr Zelensky after Ukraine failed to oppose pro-Palestinian resolutions at the UN last week.

Putin has worked with Netanyahu for 12 of his 22 years in charge of the Kremlin, and the two have a close relationship.

After the Israeli leader’s vote of confidence on December 29, the Russian president called Netanyahu again and congratulated him on his victory in the elections held on November 3.

This was reported by Israeli experts Arabic News Netanyahu expressed his government’s dissatisfaction with Cohen-Lavrov’s call and said that he will try to develop close relations with Moscow while maintaining strategic relations with the United States.

According to Israeli political scientist Yoni Ben Menachem, Putin expects Netanyahu to move Israel’s Russia policy away from the approach taken by Lapid, who attacked Moscow in his UN speech and media statements.

Tel Aviv fears that Moscow will prevent it from continuing to bomb Iranian targets in Syria. Russia can provide Iranian forces with anti-aircraft missile complexes that can pose a threat to Israeli warplanes.

Ben Menachem said Russia now has “very close ties” to Iran, which could end the Israeli air force’s freedom to bomb Iranian targets in Syria.

There are one million Russian-speaking Russian Jews in Israel. Most are over 18 and therefore vote and influence Israeli elections.

Previous Israeli governments have had ministers and deputy ministers of Russian origin, such as Avigdor Lieberman, Yuli Edelstein and Sofia Lander.

On December 31, Netanyahu asked Zelensky to oppose pro-Palestinian resolutions at the UN. Zelensky replied that he would agree if Tel Aviv provided Ukraine with advanced weapons. Netanyahu rejected the offer in order not to harm Tel Aviv’s relations with Moscow.

Zelensky hoped to receive air defense systems from the Lapid government, but they did not arrive. Netanyahu is unlikely to provide these systems.

“In any case, Russian-Israeli relations would be better between Netanyahu and Putin than between Lapid and Putin,” Svetlova said. Arabic News.

This was stated by Alexander Grinberg, an expert on Russia-Israel issues Arabic News“I am confident that Netanyahu will be able to balance Israel’s position with the continuation of the war in Ukraine and its relations with Russia, because his predecessor Yair Lapid’s position in favor of Ukraine was personal and emotional, nothing more.”

He argued that Netanyahu’s stance on Russia is in Israel’s security interests with the Israeli military, military intelligence leadership and the rest of the Israeli security apparatus against Tehran, whether in Syria or inside Iran.

“The people of Israel oppose Russia because of the war in Ukraine, and the political and security leaders work closely with Putin.

This text is a translation of an article published on Arabnews.com

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