Photo Credit: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch / POOL
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, February 27, 2022.

Following a three-hour meeting on Saturday at the Kremlin with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The prime minister also spoke with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky following his meeting with Putin, Israeli officials confirmed to JewishPress.com. The content of their conversation was not released.

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Bennett flew to Moscow on the Sabbath for urgent talks about the war in Ukraine, according to the prime minister’s office.

Although both he and Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin — who went along to assist with translation — are observant Jews, and travel is forbidden on the Sabbath according to Torah law, the Torah permits such a violation in cases where the saving of life is involved.

The delegation made the trip in a private plane usually used by Israel’s international intelligence agency, the Mossad.

Both the United States and Ukraine were notified ahead of Bennet’s trip.

The prime minister was also accompanied by Dr. Eyal Hulata, head of Israel’s National Security Council, political adviser Shimrit Meir and Bennett’s spokesperson Matan Sidi.

Bennett has repeatedly offered to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, including during his meeting with Putin in Sochi last October, but Putin has rejected the offers.

Despite his rejection of mediation, Russia’s president said he would maintain contact with Israel over the situation.

The prime minister’s office has refused to comment on the meeting, saying the issue is “particularly sensitive.”

A substantial percentage of the Israeli population is comprised of Russian and Ukrainian Jewish immigrants.

Russian forces are also stationed in Syria across Israel’s northern border, and Russia has provided the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with defensive weapons, including the S-300 anti-missile defense system.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.