Israel–Russia relations - Wikipedia
In the absence of any US forces in south-west Syria, which juts up against Israeli Russian diplomats praise the relationship with Israel as. educating the aMerican Public: FPRI was founded on the premise than an Historical, cultural, and social ties play a role in the Russia-Israel relationship, and. “For us, Israel is an important partner in the Middle East. How Israel and Russia continue to manage their relationship will help determine.
The Koren-Bogdanov meeting was precipitated by Israel officially acknowledging the strike, but it appears that the meeting was not representative of a crisis, as it has been portrayed in some quarters, but of the relatively smooth relations between the countries and the desire that a misunderstanding would not occur.
Several decades ago the Soviet Union and Israel did not have relations, and Russia was one of the most implacable Cold War foes, aiding and allying with regimes that opposed Israel. But recent years have seen a dramatic about-face. Last year we saw the most intensive political dialogue in history between Jerusalem and Moscow, said Alexey Drobinin, deputy chief of mission at the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv, in a conversation this week.
This year is off to an auspicious start as well. Because we believe Israel is a vibrant economy, strong state, especially if you compare it to some other states in this region which have been weakened over the past years. Russia has historic ties to the Middle East, including numerous monasteries and pilgrimages by Orthodox Christians.
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Many Israelis also have origins in Russian-speaking lands, not only from the era before but also since the s, when a million Russian-speakers arrived on aliya. A new agreement will see former Soviet-era citizens receive access to these benefits. There is also talk of increasing economic relations with Russia. Russia would like to see Israel create a free trade zone connected to the Eurasian Economic Union, of which Russia is a leading member.
There are many arguments for us to intervene. First of all, we saw what happened in other countries in the region due to the external intervention in the internal issues of those countries [i. We saw that it would be counterproductive to proceed in this way. We did not want another situation where there would be the disintegration of another country and of society, [thereby] creating fertile ground for the spread of terrorism.
We intervened in order to fight and defeat international terrorism, and to ensure the normal development of the country. In addition, we had our legitimate security concerns, because what is going on in Syria is very, very close to our borders.
Some people originally from Russia and neighboring countries were fighting on the side of the terrorists, and they established criminal ties and connections with some groups in the Russian Federation. It was not productive just to fight against terrorist groups and activities inside Russia, but we saw it necessary to address the hotbed from where the terrorists were threatening our security.
Thousands and thousands of Russian citizens were fighting on the side of terrorists, for Daesh [Islamic State]. So the concern was that if Syria would fall, the terrorism would drift northward to Russia? Yes, we discussed this issue with our Iranian colleagues and they expressed their readiness, and implemented this agreement. They moved their militias under their control 80 to kilometers from the Syrian-Israeli border. One point I have to mention — Iranian troops are acting in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government of this country, and they are cooperating with the Syrian Army in fighting against terrorism.
They are doing a very important job in fighting Daesh, Nusra and other terrorist groups.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is not willing to tolerate any Iranian troops in Syria after the war; you talk of a buffer zone. These are contrasting goals, are they not? But we have expressed on many occasions at the highest levels that it is unrealistic to expect that Iranian troops will be forcibly expelled from Syria, because it is a matter of agreement between the Syrian government and Iran.
There is an assumption here that Russia could tell the Iranians to leave, and they would go. You are saying that is not going to happen? We consider all our counterparts as legitimate members of the UN, with their interests in the region We cannot just make an order to the sovereign state of Iran and they will follow it. You said Iran is doing a good job fighting the terrorists in Syria.
Then once the war is over and the terrorists are defeated, what is their interest in staying there? We are being honest with our Iranian colleagues and telling them directly that we cannot accept a position which puts into question the existence of Israel.
What next for Russian-Israeli relations?
That is unacceptable to us. The IDF has admitted to carrying out more than missions in Syria. You have your military there and are doing nothing to stop it. As a matter of principle, we are against any interventions or violations of Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and of course we reacted when necessary [through Foreign Ministry statements] on some strikes made by the Israeli military.
Are they pushing you to do more to do so? It is a very complicated issue How do you explain that the relations are so good, particularly since in the past they were so bad? We are ready to connect and communicate with all countries around the world — and why should Israel be excluded from this approach? Our common history, which includes everything — the role of the Soviet Union at the time in the establishment of Israel, the fact that a good part of the Israeli population originates from the former Soviet Union and contributes in all fields in Israel — unites both countries very, very closely.
The one major problem Moscow encountered in the Arab world in dealt with the Palestinians. In June of that year, Hamas seized power in Gaza, killing a number of Fatah officials working there. With Fatah and Hamas now at loggerheads — Abbas fired the Hamas prime minister and replaced him with one of his own appointees, Salam Fayyad, who had a reputation for fiscal honesty and was close to the Western financial community — Moscow faced a difficult problem of choice.
In addition, Moscow increased its backing for the Arab Peace Plan, first introduced in and then reintroduced inwhich all the Arab states had endorsed. Perhaps most important, Russia called for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah as a necessary precondition for the peace conference to take place.
Thus, at the time of the Russian invasion of Georgia, Russia was following a policy of encouraging the main anti-American and anti-Israeli forces in the Middle East, while at the same time trying to draw the major Sunni Arab states away from their alignment with the United States, and also trying to maintain good bilateral ties with Israel.
Impact of the Georgia Invasion Syria In an almost classic case of political opportunism, Bashar al-Asad seized upon the Russian invasion of Georgia — and the fact that Israel along with Germany, France, the United States and Turkey had provided military equipment and training to the Georgian military — to try to convince the reluctant Russians to sell Syria the weapons it had long coveted but so far failed to succeed in buying.
As Asad told the Russian newspaper Kommersant on the eve of his visit to Moscow, when Georgian-Russian hostilities were still going on: And if before in Russia there were people who thought these [Israeli] forces can be friendly, now I think no one thinks that way.
In backing the Russian intervention in Georgia, one of the few countries to do so, Asad was repeating the policy of his father, Hafiz, whose regime was one of the few in the world to support the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in It should also be noted, however, that Moscow has held up arms sales to Syria and Iran to try to squeeze concessions from Israel, threatening to implement them if Israel did not behave as desired.
Israel Since the Olmert visit to Moscow in OctoberRussian-Israeli relations continued in their schizophrenic course. First, Israel is the homeland of more than a million Russian-speaking citizens of the FSU, whom Russia sees as a source of its global influence.Israel vs Russia - Army/Military Power Comparison 2018
Hence, the emphasis on cultural ties, in which Israelis of Russian origin play the dominant role. Second, as noted above, Putin is determined to develop the Russian economy; and high-tech trade with Israel, especially in the area of nanotechnology,33 is a part of his plan.
Third, the Arab-Israeli conflict is a major issue in world politics, and Putin would very much like to play a role in its diplomacy, if not in resolving it.
For this reason, he continued to call for an international peace conference in Moscow and wanted Israel to attend, so as to demonstrate the ability of Russia to be a world mediator. By earlyperhaps in an effort to convince Israel to attend a Middle East peace conference, and perhaps because it was growing increasingly disenchanted with Hamas, Moscow took a rather even-handed view of the Israeli-Hamas war of December Januaryinstead of giving strong backing to Hamas.
He also called for a strategic dialogue with Russia. This may have been the price Moscow was demanding for holding off on the delivery of SAM missiles to Iran as well as sophisticated missiles and military aircraft to Syria.
However, in the General Assembly vote to send the report to the UN Security Council, Moscow abstained, perhaps wishing to assuage Israeli anger or, perhaps, because it might itself be accused in international fora of killing civilians during Russian military operations in the North Caucasus.
So far, at least, Israel has appeared to go along with the Russian strategy, if only to prevent the consummation of some of the most threatening arms dealssuch as the SAM agreement with Iran and the Iskander-missile agreement with Syria. Thus, Israel has agreed to attend the proposed Middle East peace conference in Moscow, ceased arming Georgia, and sold sophisticated military drones to Russia, while also carrying out extensive trade and cultural relations. Second, Putin has used the Arab-Israeli conflict to try to thrust Russia back into the center of Middle East diplomacy.
By calling for a Middle East peace conference in Moscow and getting Israel to agree to attend, Russia can demonstrate it is again a factor in Middle East diplomacy. At the same time, given the current split between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, each of which rules a separate section of Palestinian territory although Fatah control is limited by the Israeli occupationand the apparent refusal of the Netanyahu government to make any concessions on Jerusalem, the prospects of a successful peace conference in Moscow, if it is held, would appear to be limited.
Third, Moscow has demonstrated a clear interest in expanding economic ties with Israel in the high-tech field, an area which neither the Arab states nor Iran can be helpful, although Iran has sought to establish a nanotechnology sector of its economy.
Finally, there is the area of cultural relations between Russia and Israel.
Moscow sees itself as the center of the Russian-speaking world, and Israel has the largest Russian-speaking population outside the FSU.
Putin appears to see immigrants from the FSU as a possible lever of influence inside Israel. Nonetheless, the current Russian-Israeli relationship is a relatively fragile one.
Whether such an eventuality occurs, however, is a question only the future can answer. Freedman, Russia, Iran and the Nuclear Question: The Putin Record U.