Israel’s Prime Minister hosted his Russian counterpart yesterday in Jerusalem and highlighted Israel’s determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and establishing bases in Syria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Dmitry Medvedev, who is visiting as part of the events marking 25 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia. Netanyahu outlined the shared objective of “Israel, Russia, the United States and many other countries” in defeating ISIS.
Netanyahu stressed that “we are also concerned by the second actor promoting radical Islam — Iran — which champions the destruction of Israel and also supports 360-degree terror on five continents”. Consequently, he said that Israel is determined to “first, prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons and second, to prevent Iran… from establishing itself militarily in Syria, on the ground, in the air or at sea”. Both Iran and Russia are staunch supporters of Syria’s President Bashar Assad.
Netanyahu also commended the “security coordination” between Israel and Russia and the “tremendous change in our relationship,” with bilateral ties having recently warmed.
Medvedev praised the “special values” shared by Russia and Israel, saying “every time I visit Israel I feel at home”. He also underscored that “our countries have common challenges, primarily terrorism. Terror threatens the entire world but in this region it is felt particularly strongly”.
Medvedev arrived in Israel yesterday and visited the Western Wall and Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. He was then hosted by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, who said: “Russia has always had an important role in our region, perhaps today more than ever… We are faced by many challenges, and at the same time opportunities, and we need to be prepared for both.”
Today, Medvedev will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum before travelling to Jericho to meet Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.
During Medvedev’s visit, Israel and Russia are scheduled to sign four bilateral agreements on customs, high-tech, agriculture and construction.