Israel looks forward to Vladimir Putin's visit
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Israel today. The trip will take one day instead of two due to the renewal of the government. Nevertheless, Putin will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who has retained his post in the Cabinet, and representatives of several other ministries.
The visit's main event is participation in the 'Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism' forum, which will bring together leaders and senior representatives of more than 40 countries. The forum will also be attended by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Prince of Wales Charles.
As for the bilateral agenda, senior research fellow at Department for Israel and the Jewish Communities studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Dmitry Maryasis said that relations between the two states are multifaceted: "Through tactical interaction in the framework of the Syrian conflict, we know that there are information exchanges and cooperation at the level of special services and at various other levels. Not without failures, of course, not without problems, but this cooperation is underway. And the Russian language's advantage is very important here, because it’s precisely the Russian-speaking representatives of the Israel Defense Forces and other relevant services who coordinate relations with Russian representatives, in particular in Syria. This facilitates understanding, helps to avoid ambiguity, difficulty in the conversion."
"Trade and economic cooperation has stabilized at a certain level. They will discuss this either, but I think that one of the main topics of the meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu will be Naama Issachar, an Israeli woman who flew from India to Tel - Aviv via Russia a year ago, and 10 grams of hashish were found in her luggage. Recently, she was sentenced to 7 years. It is currently being discussed whether she will be pardoned or not.
The Israelis took this situation negatively, because for the first time in the modern history of Russian-Israeli relations, a simple girl became a "hostage" of political games, as they believe. They take any problem with an Israeli citizen abroad very hard and try to influence the situation very actively, both at the public level and at the political level. If Naama Issachar is pardoned, this will make the visit even positive," Maryasis believes.
Yesterday it became known that Putin will meet with Naama's mother Jaffa Issachar and Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also take part in the conversation. At the same time, Moscow does not reconcile the issue of pardoning Issakhar and returning the historical Russian Compound in Jerusalem to Russia.