After a long day in Moscow that began first thing in the morning with special events to mark the victory of the Red Army over the German Nazis during World War II, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed back to Israel following talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, newly re-inaugurated for a fourth six-year term earlier this week.
“I have just finished almost ten hours in the company of President Putin,” Netanyahu told reporters. “We attended very moving events – the parade marking the victory over the Nazis and other events, and of course there were also good and useful talks. I presented our perspective on issues including Iran’s secret nuclear archive and, of course, the current tension.
“The Iranians declare their intention to attack us. They are trying to transfer forces and deadly weapons there with the explicit goal of attacking the State of Israel as part of their strategy to destroy the State of Israel.
“I told President Putin that it is the right of every state, certainly it is Israel’s right, to take such steps as are necessary to defend itself against this aggression,” Netanyahu said. “I think that matters were presented in a direct and forthright manner, and this is important. These matters are very important to Israel’s security at all times and especially at this time.”
Prior to their meeting, the prime minister joined Russia’s president in marching in a parade to mark the victory of the Red Army over Nazi Germany in World War II.
“We in Israel do not forget for a moment the great sacrifice of the Russian people and the Red Army in the victory over the Nazi monster,” Netanyahu said just after that experience. “Sitting next to me, between us, was a veteran who was among the liberators of Auschwitz. We will never forget the meaning of your sacrifice, of those soldiers, along with the half a million Jewish soldiers in the Red Army, in ensuring the fate of Russia, of humanity and of our people, the Jewish people.”
However, said Netanyahu, “Neither do we forget the great lesson of the need to stand against a murderous ideology in time. It is unbelievable, but 73 years after the Holocaust, there is a country in the Middle East, Iran, that is calling for the destruction of another six million Jews.”
The difference, he said, is that today Jews have a state. He expressed his appreciation to Russia’s president for the opportunity to be able to discuss the attempts to resolve the crises, [and] to “lift the threats in a prudent and responsible manner.
“I am very moved that you invited me to this parade as Prime Minister of Israel, as head of the state of the Jews, and you mentioned the Holocaust of the Jews today. This is additional testimony to the deep ties between our two peoples and I thank you for this.”