Netanyahu-Putin: the balance of alliances

Tank, captured 34 years ago, that Vladimir Putin returns to Israel to the families of the missing soldiers was at least something to pray about their memory. Economic agreement on pensions for Russian immigrants who came to Israel before the collapse of the Soviet Union. And most importantly — a more stringent agreement on “zones of influence” in Syria with the guarantee of “king” Benjamin Netanyahu that the Lebanese Hizbullah does not capture the border at the Golan heights.

On the third in less than a year meeting between the Russian President and the Israeli Prime Minister they make a strategic and personal agreement. Maybe they don’t call each other diminutive “Vova” and “Bibi,” but Putin and Nitanyahu, who arrived accompanied by his wife Sarah, demonstrate mutual understanding and respect, despite the fact that they are on opposite sides in the Syrian civil war and the “great game” in the middle East. Moscow — a close Alliance for the Shiite Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus and Israel believes the Iranian “ayatollahs” “more dangerous than ISIS” (declared a terrorist organization and banned in Russia — approx. ed.)

Putin does not want to commit to one Alliance. He — great relations with Sunni Egypt Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and the Saudi monarchy. These are the two key partner for Israel at the moment. Putin refers to Israel as a regional leader. For the nine-month period, already held four meetings, counting also a bilateral meeting in Paris during a summit on climate change. All four meetings coincide with Russia’s intervention in Syria, which is Moscow at some extent agreed with the Israelis.

Even before the Pentagon, the Russian air force established a command post with Israeli aircraft to avoid “incidents” in the Syrian sky. During his last April visit, Netanyahu acknowledged that Israeli fighter jets carried out “dozens of air strikes” against Hezbollah. Putin is not at all embarrassed. More complex topic, including, and begun the night before 6 April meeting, is a Shiite militia. Bibi wants to get a guarantee on the territory located near the Golan heights, he fears the emergence of “another terrorist front” after those that were with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza strip.

Moscow’s influence on Damascus and Tehran so much that you can imagine as the ‘king’ vetoes military location “Hezbollah”. The impression is that even in the matter of the sale to Iran of sophisticated anti-aircraft s-300 missiles, capable of intercepting fighters to the Israeli aviation, Putin takes into account the objections of Netanyahu. Sending weapons is postponed under the pretext of delayed payment.

Putin also takes into account the internal processes in Israel. With the advent of the government of Avigdor Lieberman, the Russian Jews in Israel, and their nearly one million, became an influential force. And the agreement on the provision of pensions to be paid in part by the Russian side, immigrants who came to Israel before the collapse of the Soviet Union and have not previously had a right to pension payments. It is a gift to the electorate and Lieberman’s support for Netanyahu, who will abide by the agreement with a new partner.

However the gesture, which like all Israelis, was the return of the tank, captured in Lebanon by the Syrians, then donated Hafiz al-Assad, the Soviet Union and exhibited in the Museum in Kubinka. This is not a military item and not the trophy. This is the last real memory for the families of the three soldiers missing in the battle of Sultan Yacoub on June 10, 1982, which killed 30 of their colleagues. The return of this tank is almost comparable to the return of the bodies of the victims, it demonstrates the compassion the most important for Israelis values — respect for the dead. Putin promised Netanyahu and fulfilled his promise.