PM Naftali Bennett holds his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort town of Sochi on Friday morning. At the airport, Bennett said that the relationship with Russian was an Important pillar of Israel’s foreign policy – owing both toe Russia’s special status and the million Russian-speaking Israelis, who act as a bridge between the two countries.
Iran’s nuclear program and its presence in Syria figure high on the topics the two leaders are expected to discuss as well as reciprocal tourism. Israel earlier announced that Russian tourists with the Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus would be acceptable from Nov. 1, as a goodwill gesture. After cases of the new variant of the Delta virus were discovered, the date was postponed to Dec. 1.
Before taking off for Sochi, Bennett made a phone call to the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. No information was released on its content.
Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin (New Hope), who acted as interpreter for former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s many conversations with the Russian leader serves Bennett in the same capacity on Friday.