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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov review an honor guard, Moscow, June 6, 2016 (AP photo by Ivan Sekretarev).

Pragmatism Guides Israel-Russia Ties, but Netanyahu Should Be Wary

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016

Russia might be doing all it can to secure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power in Syria, but that hasn’t dissuaded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from pursuing robust ties with Moscow. Last week, he and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met in Jerusalem to mark the 25th anniversary of Russia-Israel ties. They capped off the occasion by signing a series of bilateral agreements on agriculture, technology and construction.

Medvedev’s visit comes after a good year for Israel-Russia ties, described by The Washington Post as a “budding bromance.” Since September 2015, Netanyahu has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin three times; during that same period, the Israeli prime minister met with U.S. President Barack Obama just once. While the animus between Netanyahu and Obama is hardly a secret, the deepening of ties between Israel and Russia coincides with Moscow’s growing involvement in the Middle East, most notably in Syria. ...

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