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Netanyahu meets with Russian National Security Council secretary, applauds cooperation

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be “interested in good relations with Israel, sure, but he is interested in building leverage rather than genuine friendship,” said Anna Borshchevskaya of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Secretary of the Russian National Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 24, 2019. Credit: Haim Zach/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Secretary of the Russian National Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 24, 2019. Credit: Haim Zach/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev on Monday in Jerusalem as the former applauded security cooperation between Jerusalem and Moscow, including in countering the Iranian regional threat.

“I am certain that from this perspective as well it is understood in Russia the significance for us of a regime that calls for our destruction, not just to conquer us but to destroy us, and is daily acting to achieve this goal,” Netanyahu told Patrushev.

“Therefore, Israel will not allow Iran, which calls for our destruction, to entrench on our border; we will do everything to prevent it from attaining nuclear weapons,” he continued. “Self-defense is a very important lesson of 20th century history, certainly for the Jewish people and its state.”

Netanyahu proceeded to thank Russia President Vladimir Putin “for his statement that the security of Israel is important to Russia. He has said this many times and I very much appreciate it.”

Anna Borshchevskaya of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told JNS that Netanyahu is misguided regarding Putin’s approach to the Iranian threat.

“Putin has no desire or ability to contain Iran,” she said. “The very fact that this meeting is taking place boosts Putin’s ego and the perception of Russia as a great power, critical to resolving key international crises.”

“Putin is interested in good relations with Israel, sure, but he is interested in building leverage rather than genuine friendship,” she continued. “It’s hard to imagine what a good deal with Russia would look like, so it’s hard to see what would be a good outcome of this meeting in this sense.”

Nonetheless, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton met with Netanyahu on Sunday ahead of a meeting between the two and Patrushev to discuss the Iranian threat.

While it was initially set to discuss security issues pertaining to Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, the focus is now expected to shift to recent escalation in tension between the United States and Iran.

Iranian-allied Yemeni Houthi rebels killed one person and wounded seven in an attack on a Saudi Arabian airport on Sunday evening.

U.S. President Donald Trump called off retaliatory strikes against Iran last week for shooting down an American spy drone near the Strait of Hormuz, which Trump confirmed on Friday, saying that such a response was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Wednesday’s incident occurred less than a week after Iran allegedly attacked two tankers—one carrying oil and the other transferring a freight of methanol—in the Gulf of Oman near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Iran has denied responsibility for the incident.

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