A T-34 Soviet-made tank and Russian servicemen take part in a rehearsal for a military parade at the Red Square in Moscow.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee members headed to Moscow on Sunday to meet with their counterparts in both houses of the Russian parliament.
Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) was joined by MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), who is also chairman of the Israel-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Group, MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and MK Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Union) in an effort to strengthen the decadelong parliamentary dialogue between the Israeli and Russian legislatures.
The MKs plan to discuss Russia’s increased involvement in the Middle East, and the need for the IDF and Russian forces in Syria to coordinate closely, in meetings with the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Duma and the Federation Council.
The delegation is also scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov; Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov and other officials.
Dichter said his goal on the trip is to make Israel’s position heard and that a more positive Russian policy on Israel could bring other, like-minded countries to do the same.
“Iran and its true goals will be at the center of the dialogue,” he said, “as Iran is acting as a leading state-sponsor of terrorism in the world, against Israel and other countries in our region.”
Dichter said he sees a great importance in reinforcing ties with Russia and its parliament, which he said will “allow us to present the Israeli stance when it comes to [Russia] taking positions against Israel in international organizations, such as in the UNESCO vote about the Temple Mount, which, to us, was outrageous and unacceptable.”
In an interview with Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, which aired on Channel 2 on Saturday night, Medvedev said Russia’s support of a UNESCO resolution denying the historic connection between the Jewish People and its holiest site, the Temple Mount, does not mean Russia is denying Israel or the Jewish People’s rights to the Mount or the Western Wall. Medvedev said the issue was blown out of proportion, and the resolution was “not directed against Israel.”