People watch S-300 air defense missile systems launching missiles during the Keys to the Sky competition at the International Army Games 2017 at the Ashuluk shooting range outside Astrakhan, Russia, August 5, 2017. .
(photo credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)
SIGHET, Romania – Berel Lazar, one of Russia’s chief rabbis and a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, told an interviewer that after Russia’s sale of S-300 anti-aircraft weapons to Syria, Israel “shouldn’t rely on anyone,” and that the sale was “a mistake.”
“First of all, I don’t think this is an issue of an existential threat,” Lazar said, speaking at an event celebrating the 90th birthday of late Jewish luminary Elie Wiesel. “I’m sure that in Israel today we have means to deal with our enemies, even with the S-300."
The Russian Defense Ministry published video Tuesday night of the delivery of the S-300 missile system
to Syria. Moscow announced it would supply Syria with the advanced S-300 missile defense system and impose electronic countermeasures over Syria’s coastline. Those countermeasures would suppress satellite navigation, onboard radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory.
“However, we are certainly talking with the president [Putin] and explaining the sensitivity of the issue for our brothers in Israel, in Zion,” Lazar continued. “And we hope that the cooperation between Russia and Israel to stop the terror and to stop Iran will continue, and that Israel will continue to do everything necessary to ensure that the enemy’s terror does not reach its gates.
"This is a story that has been continuing for a long time,” the rabbi continued, “but in the wake of the downing of the Russian plane
, Russia apparently made the decision that they have to sell this material in order to protect their aircraft. I think this is a mistake, and that this will only bring more trouble to the region. But I hope that Israel will be able to overcome these difficulties. I’m sure that the technology that the IDF has today will overcome these difficulties even under such conditions. I think we have to maintain the connection with Russia and to be in contact with everyone, but we shouldn’t rely on anyone else and must rely on God.” concluded Lazar.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.
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