The evolutions of Russian-Israeli international relations

(To Maria Grazia Labellarte)

By analyzing the dynamics of the history of Russian-Israeli relations, we discover how complex they are and perhaps more than others rich in ideas and fascinating. In 1948 the USSR supported the creation of the state of Israel, relations that were later broken off when the Six-day war and that of Ramadan, respectively in 1967 and 1973 changed the course of history in the Middle East.

In the twenty-first century the international political scenario has seen a close confrontation between the two nations not immune to tensions and mutual distrust but nevertheless marked by the desire for mutual support. In April of 2005 Vladimir Putin was the first Russian president to visit Israel, resulting in a visit to the Wailing Wall, a sacred place and at the same time a symbol of Judaism.

The event was repeated on the 27 June of 2012, sealed by Netanyahu's official visit to Moscow on 7 June this year, 25 anniversary of the resumption of relations. If the first visits were linked to formal and somewhat ideological aspects, in the last meeting particular attention was paid to questions concerning bilateral cooperation.

Analyzing the geopolitical aspects of recent years, it is inevitable to examine the position of both countries in the context of the Syrian conflict.

The Russian intervention in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, and the consequent strengthening of Russian military bases in Syria inevitably forced Israeli foreign policy to confront Vladimir Putin's moves in the field.

Since the early days of the war in Syria, the Israeli intent to not intervene directly but at the same time to protect itself from the possible strengthening of its historical enemies was clear: first requirement of Tel Aviv was to avoid the passage and transfer of arms from Iran to the Israeli bogeyman of all time, Hezbollah. In fact, since the beginning of the war in Syria, numerous were the convoys of weapons destined to the Party of God affected by Israeli aviation both in Lebanese territory and in Syrian territory. If we add to these concrete events Israel's great concern regarding the sale by Moscow of S-400 ground-to-air systems, we can understand why Tel Aviv is interested in maintaining relations with the Kremlin.

The S-400 have proved to be extremely effective, to the point of affecting the absolute dominion of the skies of Israeli aviation in the entire region, effectively limiting its operational capacity over Syrian airspace.

However, in September 2015 following the visit of Netanyahu to Moscow, the same Israeli prime minister declared that he had agreed a mechanism capable of preventing possible future frictions between the two countries, reiterating that Israel and Russia have many common interests in the Middle East , guarantee for a scenario of peace and stability.

Moving to the Ukrainian front, a secluded but at the same time clear position was taken by Israel in favor of Russia in the UN. The abstention from the vote on the United Nations resolution condemning the annexation of Crimea and Russian politics in Ukraine, surprised the United States itself, further increasing the already evident gap between the choices of Tel Aviv and Washington's Middle East policies.

It is clear that Israel, in an attempt to fill the political void created by the Obama administration over the last decade throughout the region, does not disdain a significant improvement in relations with Russia of Vladimir Putin, a strategic partner now in many sectors. The common Islamist enemy could be the basis for the development of new future assets.

(photo: web)