Despite reports of tension between Jerusalem and Moscow, a top defense Russian delegation visited the Knesset for high-level talks with members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The delegation, hosted by committee chairman MK Avi Dichter (Likud), included: Viktor Bondarev, chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security; and Sergey Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States and the deputy chairman of the committee as well as two additional members.

Kislyak is one of the Russian officials who US President Donald Trump shared intelligence with – collected by Israel – in the Oval Office in May 2017. The intelligence was reportedly connected to an ISIS terrorist plot emanating from Syria.

Ties between Israel and Russia are said to be tense in recent months after Syria shot down a Russian reconnaissance plane off the coast of Syria near Latakia in September. Russia blamed Israel for causing the downing of the spy plane, which took place shortly after an IAF bombing in Syria.

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Jewish Agency for Israel head Isaac Herzog that Israeli and Russian militaries are cooperating closely again following the downing of the Russian intelligence plane.

At the beginning of a meeting with Herzog in Moscow, Lavrov said that representatives of the IDF and Russian Army general staffs have met “several times,” that the meetings were “professional,” and that he hopes the cooperation will continue “in a way that does not endanger the lives of Russian soldiers, does not create problems for the efforts of the Syrian Arab Republic and us to fight terrorism, and in a way that ensures the security of Israel, which we believe is very important for an overall settlement.”
 




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