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Naftali Bennett Meets Vladamir Putin in Russia

Prime Minister of Israel

Israel PM Naftali Bennett Meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia on October 22, 2021 Photp by Kobi Gidon, Israel’s Government Press Office.

The Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett met today, Friday, with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of Sochi. Bennett flew in for a quick trip, having left Israel early in the morning and expecting to return in time for Shabbat.

This is Prime Minister Bennett’s first official trip as the leader of Israel since assuming office in June. He has already gone to Washington for an official meeting with American President Joe Biden, and he attended the opening ceremonies for the year at the United Nations in New York.

Bennett also just hosted in Jerusalem the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is on a going away tour. Merkel chose not to seek reelection after serving 4 terms and 16 years in office.

Upon his departure from Israel this morning the Israeli Prime Minister commented, “The ties between Russia and Israel are a significant element in the foreign policy of the State of Israel due to both the special status of Russia in the region and its international role, and to the million Russian-speakers in Israel, who constitute a bridge between the two countries.”

He added that, in general, the foreign policy and international status of Israel is strengthening.

At the meeting Bennett said, “Our ties with Russia, which were established 30 years ago, mean so much to us because of the past, but also because of the present and the future.”

He said that the two leaders discusses the ongoing turmoil in Syria and Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons from its atomic program.

Prime Minister Bennett told Vladimir Putin on behalf of all Israelis “we view you as a true friend of the Jewish people.”

“We remember the past, the wonderful mobilizing of the Russian nation and the Red Army to defeat the Nazis in the Second World War. These were the most decisive days for the world and also for the Jewish nation,” he said at a news conference with President Putin.

“It is our responsibility to instill our gratitude in the next generations, through discourse, through documentation and through physical commemoration, such as the Victory Monument in the city of Netanya and the monument commemorating the victims of the siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem – two places that you, Mr. President, inaugurated,” he commented.

“On a personal note, as a student of history, it is impossible not to appreciate the heroism of the entire Russian nation during those difficult years,” added Bennett. “Right now, we are concluding the project of constructing a large museum in Israel to commemorate the Jewish soldiers who fought in various armies during World War II. But the special and significant contribution was in the Red Army, in which 500,000 Jews fought and 200,000 Jews fell during the war against the Nazis, in the Red Army.

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