Opinion: The warm relations between Moscow and Jerusalem yield strategic advantages and the friendship of our leaders may facilitate Naama Issachar’s release but Russia cannot dictate the terms of this friendship
Sever Plocker – www.ynetnews.com
Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have many close friends among leaders in the West except for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Putin and Netanyahu have developed a personal relationship that provides Israel with strategic advantages, many of them evident with Russia’s increasing military and political involvement in the Middle East, especially its relations with some of Israel’s most challenging enemies.
The close friendship that has grown between Moscow and Jerusalem enabled Netanyahu to appeal for the release of Naama Issachar, an Israeli woman who was given a disproportionately harsh sentence of 7.5 years in prison by a Russian court, for a minor offense.
However, this friendship must not justify capitulation by Israel to the Russian president’s diktats – not on matters of security, or economy and not on matters of history.
Putin is a welcomed and honored guest at the overly political and overly grand International Holocaust Forum event due to take place in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Putin is a welcomed and honored guest at the overly political and overly grand WoIazis in the Second World War, nor has it forgotten the Soviet Union’s support for the establishment of the state.r the establishment of the state.
But the country is also reminded of the Soviet’s support for the Arab states during the Six-Day War and its termination of all diplomatic ties with Jerusalem, around the same event.
Israel has also not forgotten the persecution of Jews and the annihilation of the Jewish cultural elite under Joseph Stalin in the 1930s and 1940s. Unlike other European countries, post-Soviet Russia has never really conducted any soul searching regarding the anti-Semitism that was so prevalent both in the time of the czars and during the Soviet era.
The Israeli leadership must express to its friend the Russian president, with complete honesty, its refusal to accept Putin’s contention that the West and specifically Poland, bear sole responsibility for the outbreak of the war in 1939 with Russia or Stalin’s Soviet Union bearing no responsibility at all.
It was the U.S.S.R. which forged a pact with the Nazi regime that paved the way for the brutal German occupation of Poland that caused the death not only of 3 million Polish Jews but many millions more from all over Europe.
Putin is trying to expunge Russia’s record, but the blemish will never be removed.
Without excusing even for a moment the violent anti-Semitism that thrived in pre-war Poland and continued into the war years, those attempting to re-write history must be reminded of the fact that the Polish people were victims and the Germans the aggressors who brutally targeted the Poles under their control.
Officials speaking for the State of Israel must not lend a hand to a perversion of historic facts propagated by the Kremlin, irrespective of how close the leaders in Jerusalem and Moscow are. This cannot be a prerequisite to a friendship between the two countries.