By Herb Keinon, JPost—
Many and varied are the reasons why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has an interest in meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin as much as he does.
And Netanyahu does meets the Russian leader a lot. His meeting with Putin Wednesday evening in the Kremlin was the ninth time the two men have met since Russia became active militarily in Syria in September 2015. This means Netanayhu has met more with Putin during this three year time frame than with any other world leader, including US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Netanyahu has characterized these meetings as “very important for Israel’s national security,” and – following Russia’s entrance into Syria – the reason why is self evident. Russia is camped out militarily in Israel’s back yard, and it is important for the two countries to talk and coordinate so each understand the other’s interests, so that they do not clash.
It is no small achievement that, indeed, there has not been any clash – accidental or otherwise – between Russian and Israeli forces in Syria over the last three years. And this is something that neither should be taken for granted nor just happens. The type of understandings and cooperation necessary to avoid those clashes has come out of the meetings between the leaders at the top.
These nine meetings have ensured that Israel knows what Russia’s vital interests are in Syria, that Russia understands the vital concerns of Israel, and that both countries steer clear of harming what is of critical importance to the other.
That’s why the meetings are important for Netanyahu, and these are among the reasons that they are important for Putin as well. Continue Reading….