Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)
Putin in Israel, Jan. 23, 2020

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, the prime minister’s media adviser reported Thursday morning.

Israel’s media have focused on the Russian president’s landing, including the inevitable turning to our reporter at Ben Gurion International for up-to-the-minute details. Putin is in Israel to inaugurate a memorial to World War Two victims in Jerusalem, as well as join some 50 world leaders at a Yad Vashem conference marking the liberation of Auschwitz – a conference where Putin will be one of the keynote speakers.

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But that was not what Israel’s media were waiting for. In their fantasy world—and in the fantasy world of most other Israelis, Vladimir Putin was going to step off his plane followed by a young, tormented Israeli woman named Naama Issachar, who had been sentenced to an outlandish 7.5 years in Russian prison for possession of 9.5 grams of hashish.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who vowed to Naama’s mother, and by extension to every red-blooded Israeli, that he would bring the suffering girl home (see: In Personal Letter, Netanyahu Vows to Free Naama Issachar), has already paid up a considerable ransom to the Russian empire: they get possession of the Alexander Court in the Old City (see: Netanyahu Gives Putin Disputed Old City Church in Exchange for Jailed Israeli Woman), and they get to deliver their version of WW2, at the expense of their Polish neighbors.

But Naama Issachar did not walk down the steps from Putin’s plane. Good bye, fantasy, we’ll have some reality here for a change.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the start of his meeting with the visiting czar/Mafia Don: “I want to welcome our great friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sara and I are pleased to host you again at our home here in Jerusalem, and to thank you for the brave link between Russia and Israel, which serves our peoples and our policy as well as peace and stability in the region. Welcome to Jerusalem.”

Russian President Putin responded: “Mr. Prime Minister and honored colleagues, I would like to thank you for the invitation to come. We are working regularly with the Prime Minister. We concluded some time ago to come here and visit Israel. I am certain that this will aid in advancing our bilateral relations and of course, today we recall the victims of the Holocaust. I would like to again thank the Prime Minister and also his wife for the invitation to visit Israel. Thank you very much.”

Yes, let’s keep advancing those bilateral relations.

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