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May 9, 2018 2:03 pm

Netanyahu to Putin: Israel Has Right and Duty to Defend Itself From Iranian Aggression in Syria

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 9, 2018. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO.

At a meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladmir Putin on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized the Jewish state’s “right and duty” to defend itself from Iranian “aggression” originating in Syrian territory.

“The Iranians declare their intention to attack us,” the prime minister said in a video message after his sit-down with the Russian leader at the Kremlin. “They’re trying to transfer forces and deadly weapons there [Syria] with the explicit goal of attacking the State of Israel as part of their strategy to destroy the State of Israel.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu joined Putin in Red Square to view Russia’s annual Victory Day parade, celebrating the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Afterward, Netanyahu remarked to Putin:

“It is difficult for me to describe to you the depth of my impression from that moving ceremony to mark the victory over Nazism.”

“We in Israel do not forget for a moment the great sacrifice of the Russian people and the Red Army in the victory over the Nazi monster.”

“Sitting next to me, between us, was a veteran who was among the liberators of Auschwitz. We will never forget the meaning of your sacrifice, of those soldiers, along with the half a million Jewish soldiers in the Red Army, in ensuring the fate of Russia, of humanity and of our people, the Jewish people.”

“Neither do we forget the great lesson of the need to stand against a murderous ideology in time. It is unbelievable, but 73 years after the Holocaust, there is a country in the Middle East, Iran, that is calling for the destruction of anther six million Jews.”

“The difference is that today we have a state and I very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss regional problems with you, the attempts as you put it, to resolve the crises, to lift the threats in a prudent and responsible manner.”

Netanyahu and Putin have held numerous face-to-face meetings since Russia’s military intervention in Syria began in 2015. Israel and Russia established a coordination mechanism to prevent unintended friction between their forces.

Earlier this week, a member of Netanyahu’s cabinet warned that Israel could topple the Russia-backed regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to any Iranian attack from Syrian territory.

The Tehran regime has vowed retaliation for an April 9 air strike — which it attributed to Israel — at a Syrian base in which seven Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members were killed.

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