Israeli-Russian relations continue to improve despite crisis over Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with Russian deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov, after the latter concluded a two-day visit to the Jewish state, as part of an annual Israeli-Russian Business Forum that aims to bolster bilateral relations between the two countries. Following their meeting, the Russian deputy Prime Minister underscored his belief that the Syrian accidental shooting of a Russian Il-20 spy plane on the 17th of September, for which the Russian Defense Ministry has blamed Israel, would not harm the cooperation between Moscow and Jerusalem.  Akimov said that while the Kremlin evidently considered the deadly incident to be a problematic, he maintains the belief that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin could reach an agreement on ‘policy issues’ pertaining to the Middle East, and that the Russian willingness to cooperate on economic and trade issues remains.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to his meeting with the Russian deputy Prime Minister, stating that the relations between Moscow and Jerusalem continue to deepen, in spite of the unfortunate incident in Syria. In response to a question about the Russian transfer of its advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to the Syrian military, Netanyahu emphasized that Israel will continue to adhere to the coordination mechanism between the IDF and the Russian military. That said, the coordination with Moscow will advance alongside Israel’s resolve to preserve its national security interests. In Netanyahu’s words “The question of the S300 and our legitimate action in Syria against Iran offshoots, that openly declare their intention to eliminate us. That is an activity that we are committed to. Maintaining Israel’s security and I believe that we can come up with a wise solution to continue the good coordination mechanism between the Russian military and the IDF that I agreed upon together with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and at the same time maintain Israel’s security. We will continue to preserve Israel’s security” (during a press conference announcing the appointment of Israel’s new Bank Governor, Professor Amir Yaron).