Israel–Russia relations - Wikipedia
Today, Israel and Russia enjoy a flourishing relationship. of Russian citizens were fighting on the side of terrorists, for Daesh [Islamic State]. Once cordial relations are breaking down amid Israeli fears that Russia's decision to out Israel as being responsible for the attack on a Israel is telling the US that it cannot see the Syrian war solely as a battle to defeat Isis;. The relationship between these three countries is unusual to say the least. So how does Russia balance its ties with both Iran and Israel?.
But put into historical perspective, the normalcy of the relationship — and the level of communication — is likewise mind-boggling. Viktorov, 64, is a career diplomat whose first posting abroad was as a Soviet diplomat in the late s to Angola. The personable ambassador — who took up his position in Israel this summer after heading up the humanitarian cooperation and human rights department in the Russian Foreign Ministry — spoke in English about Syria, the Palestinians, and how he views the monumental changes that have taken place over the course of a single generation in relations between Moscow and Jerusalem.
What follows are excerpts from that interview. What kind of understandings exist between Israel and Russia concerning Syria? The main understanding is that both sides are ready to discuss and take into account in their activities the security concerns of the other country. For Russia, it is important that the leadership and population of Israel understands what we are doing in the neighboring country, and what our goals are.
Is Israel driving a wedge between Russia and Iran? - BBC News
We have at the highest levels expressed our readiness to take into account the legitimate concerns of Israel, including those relating to the situation in Syria. So what are you doing in Syria? What are your interests there?
The Russian military presence in Syria started three years ago, when we saw that the threat of international terrorism became very real, and the threat was to the existence of the Syrian Arab Republic itself. In our view, it was necessary to assist the Syrian government in fighting international terrorism, to stabilize the situation in this country, to address the humanitarian needs of the population and to launch a political process that could lead to national reconciliation, democratic elections and prosperity for the country.
Why is it so important for Russia that Assad remain in power?
For Russia, the issue of President Assad remaining in power is not important. We were not just thinking about supporting President Assad in his position. There are many arguments for us to intervene.
First of all, we saw what happened in other countries in the region due to the external intervention in the internal issues of those countries [i. We saw that it would be counterproductive to proceed in this way.
We did not want another situation where there would be the disintegration of another country and of society, [thereby] creating fertile ground for the spread of terrorism. We intervened in order to fight and defeat international terrorism, and to ensure the normal development of the country. In addition, we had our legitimate security concerns, because what is going on in Syria is very, very close to our borders. Some people originally from Russia and neighboring countries were fighting on the side of the terrorists, and they established criminal ties and connections with some groups in the Russian Federation.
It was not productive just to fight against terrorist groups and activities inside Russia, but we saw it necessary to address the hotbed from where the terrorists were threatening our security. Thousands and thousands of Russian citizens were fighting on the side of terrorists, for Daesh [Islamic State].
So the concern was that if Syria would fall, the terrorism would drift northward to Russia? Yes, we discussed this issue with our Iranian colleagues and they expressed their readiness, and implemented this agreement.
They moved their militias under their control 80 to kilometers from the Syrian-Israeli border. One point I have to mention — Iranian troops are acting in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government of this country, and they are cooperating with the Syrian Army in fighting against terrorism. They are doing a very important job in fighting Daesh, Nusra and other terrorist groups.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is not willing to tolerate any Iranian troops in Syria after the war; you talk of a buffer zone.
These are contrasting goals, are they not? But we have expressed on many occasions at the highest levels that it is unrealistic to expect that Iranian troops will be forcibly expelled from Syria, because it is a matter of agreement between the Syrian government and Iran. There is an assumption here that Russia could tell the Iranians to leave, and they would go.
You are saying that is not going to happen? We consider all our counterparts as legitimate members of the UN, with their interests in the region We cannot just make an order to the sovereign state of Iran and they will follow it.
You said Iran is doing a good job fighting the terrorists in Syria. Then once the war is over and the terrorists are defeated, what is their interest in staying there? We are being honest with our Iranian colleagues and telling them directly that we cannot accept a position which puts into question the existence of Israel.
That is unacceptable to us. The IDF has admitted to carrying out more than missions in Syria. You have your military there and are doing nothing to stop it.
As a matter of principle, we are against any interventions or violations of Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and of course we reacted when necessary [through Foreign Ministry statements] on some strikes made by the Israeli military. Are they pushing you to do more to do so? It is a very complicated issue How do you explain that the relations are so good, particularly since in the past they were so bad? We are ready to connect and communicate with all countries around the world — and why should Israel be excluded from this approach?
Our common history, which includes everything — the role of the Soviet Union at the time in the establishment of Israel, the fact that a good part of the Israeli population originates from the former Soviet Union and contributes in all fields in Israel — unites both countries very, very closely.
These are very serious factors, and [together with] signals coming from our leaders I would say that the perception of Israel in Russia is a very positive one. Israel established a monument to the Red Army in Netanya. Hundreds of thousands of Russian-Israeli citizens live in Israel. During Russian elections, the Russian government sets up polling stations across many Israeli cities as well as smaller towns, in order to enable the Russian citizens who are living in Israel to cast their vote.
During the Russian Presidential electionshundreds of thousands of Russian-Israelis could cast their vote in Israel. The Israeli drones are to be assembled in Russia.
The city of Tel Aviv in particular is a popular destination in Russia due to its ease for Russian-speakers, hot weather, and beaches. However, inRussian tourist numbers to Israel fell dramatically due to the economic crisis in Russia and the fall in the value of the ruble.
Patriarch Kirill said that the fact that "people in Israel speak Russian creates a special atmosphere for our pilgrims, and they often feel at home in Israel". Speaking about the life of the Jewish community in Russia, he cited the chief rabbi of Russia: Immigrants from Russia and other former Soviet republics account for a significant proportion of Israel's citizens, meaning that visits to friends and relatives in Russia are likely to be facilitated.
The Customs Unionbringing together BelarusKazakhstan and Russia, and Israel have launched an exploratory committee to study the prospects for the creation of a free trade zone, the Eurasian Economic Commission EEC - a single permanent regulatory body of the Customs Union reported in March The Russians want to speak to Israel without anyone eavesdropping.
The Moscow Government has implemented a training program for metropolitan doctors and nurses to train in the leading Israeli hospitals: Several hundred Russian medical specialists from Moscow hospitals are trained in Israel each year.
The framework agreement is meant to develop joint research programs and other collaborations in areas like astrophysical and planetary research, space biology and medicine, navigational satellites and launching services and technology. Although the agreement is limited to medical treatments, it could form the basis for wider collaboration for ventures between the two countries in nuclear technology.
Rusnanothe Russian government's vehicle for investments in nanotechnology, has established a branch in Israel, with the aim of setting up a fund for investment in Israeli nanotechnology ventures.
The school subsidized by Yandex, which will teach 50 Israeli students a year, will focus primarily in "machine learning". Joseph Klafter, president of Tel Aviv University, said: