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Monday 07 November 2016
Members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee left for Russia on Sunday to mark the 25th anniversary of renewed direct relations between Israel and the Russian government.
The delegation, headed by committee chair Avi Dichter (Likud), included MKs Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), and Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Camp).
The MKs will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Middle East envoy, Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, and top Russian brass.
Dichter noted the warming relations between Israel and Russia, suggesting they offered a unique opportunity to gain support from Russia on issues ranging from the Iranian nuclear threat to anti-Israel incitement in the United Nations.
”A broader base for these relations will [make it easier] to present to the Russian leadership Israel`s position on anti-Israel stances in international institutions – such as UNESCO`s resolution regarding the Temple Mount, which to us is outrageous and unacceptable,” said Dichter.
”My goal during this visit will be to promote more balanced and sensible positions related to Israel`s interests. Such positions may cause countries which look up to Russia to follow suit.”
Specifically, Dichter said, he planned on ”presenting the true intentions of Iran, which, de facto, operates as the leading terror state in the world, against Israel and other countries in the region.”
The trip comes on the heels of a series of comments by senior Russian officials on Israel and the relationship between the two countries.
In October, Vladimir Putin gave a nod to Israeli anti-terror efforts during a speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club, suggesting the Jewish state was a good example of how Western nations ought to confront terrorism.
Last week, Russian Premier Dimtry Medvedev spoke with Israel’s Channel 2, boasting of “warm, very good relations with Israel.”
Medvedev is scheduled to visit Israel this Thursday.