Jerusalem warily eyes Putin’s Tehran visit – analysis

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran on Tuesday is not about Israel, but it comes amid tensions in Russian-Israeli relations. So a meeting with Iranian leaders, who call for Israel’s destruction, could exacerbate the tension.

Those tensions come against the background of the Ukraine war. Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who was foreign minister at the time, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine within days, and Israel voted against Russia in the UN General Assembly. Israel has sent large quantities of humanitarian aid and some protective gear to Ukraine.

“On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog.” Ez. 39:11

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attend a meeting in Tehran, Iran July 19, 2022. (credit: Sputnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via REUTERS)

At the same time, then-prime minister Naftali Bennett was careful not to criticize Moscow directly, and Israel did not send any military aid to Kyiv, so as not to threaten the deconfliction mechanism that allows Israel to bomb Iranian targets in Syria, where there is a significant Russian Army presence.

That strategy has had mixed results. The deconfliction mechanism is mostly intact, though Moscow was sharply and publicly critical of a strike on Damascus International Airport last month.

In addition, Jerusalem wanted to make sure it could continue to help Russian and Ukrainian Jews who want to immigrate to Israel.

That strategy has had mixed results. The deconfliction mechanism is mostly intact, though Moscow was sharply and publicly critical of a strike on Damascus International Airport last month.

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