Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Israel on Wednesday and on Thursday held meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin. He plans to meet with opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Friday. But the Russian PM and his entourage appear to be more interested in visiting the Volcani Center in Beit Dagan, next door to Rishon L’tzion, which may be the most advanced facility in the world for agriculture research, focusing on plant sciences, animal sciences, plant protection, soil and environmental sciences, food sciences, and agricultural engineering.
On his visit there, alongside Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi), Medvedev was shown new technologies, including a robot, which should be ready for market in three years, designed for spraying agricultural fields and crops in hothouses. Also on Medvedev’s tour: a new tool for testing the sugar level in apples, to help farmers harvest their apple crops at the optimal time to fit with storage and marketing considerations. The same tool also checks the oil level of avocados and the ripeness of mango and papaya.
The Volcani tour will conclude with new sensors to monitor milk quality and output in cows, and new wheat storage solutions that protect against pests.
“I last visited Jerusalem in the 1990s, and I am glad to have an opportunity for myself and members of our delegation to visit Israel,” Medvedev told TASS on the eve of his trip.
The Russian prime minister pointed to the friendly relations between Russia and Israel that have lasted for many years, adding that, “of course, we will discuss our bilateral issues, including economic cooperation, political interaction and all kinds of international problems, which are plentiful in both this region and the entire world.”
President Rivlin noted that “Russia has always played an important role in our region,” and recalled that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Russia and Israel.
On Friday, besides meeting with Herzog, Medvedev will also visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and lay a wreath to the Eternal Flame there.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko told reporters on Thursday that “Russia and Israel are brought together by opposition to anti-Semitism, other manifestations of xenophobia and inter-ethnic strife. Together we stand against falsifying history, reconsidering the results of the Second World War, attempts to glorify accomplices of fascism, diminishing the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union to the victory over Nazi Germany, and denying the Holocaust.”