The new Czar of Russia arrived in Israel this morning for a two day trip to the epicenter. The question is: Why is Vladimir Putin there? Putin refused to come to the U.S. last month for the G-8 summit, yet he decided to visit Israel. Remarkably, Putin is the only Russian leader in history to visit the Jewish state. He first visited seven years ago. His second visit comes at a time when Russia’s alliance with Iran, Syria and other Islamic countries is both troubling and growing. Russia is selling billions of dollars worth of arms to Islamic countries, is sending naval forces at the moment to Syria, and has sold billions of dollars worth of nuclear technology to Iran. Yet at the moment Putin seems determined to show a friendly face to the Israelis. Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s happening on the Putin visit.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in the city of Netanya on Monday morning on an official state visit,” reports Haaretz. “During a speech given at a memorial to the Red Army, Putin called the Holocaust ‘the darkest, most shameful chapter in human history,’ and praised the Soviet Army was the one to ‘smash the head of the Nazi monster and allowed all nations to survive.’ Putin added that he was ‘very excited’ and thanked Netanyahu, Peres and ‘all of his Israeli friends’ for the establishment of the monument. President Shimon Peres was the main Israeli representative at the dedication ceremony. He praised the Soviet Union’s actions against Nazi Germany, as well as the current Russian government’s efforts to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Jerusalem Post reports: “Both Israel and Russia agree that Iranian proliferation of nuclear weapons poses a great danger to both Israel and the world, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Monday. Speaking after Putin, Netanyahu made three demands for Iran: that it must cease all uranium enrichment in the country, that it transfer all enriched uranium out of the country, and that it disassemble its underground nuclear facilities.”
Here’s the schedule, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
- Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Israel for a special two-day visit on Monday, 25 June 2012 at the head of a Russian delegation.
- President Putin will be welcomed on arrival at 10:30 at Ben-Gurion International Airport by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
- At 14:00 he wil hold a joint meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem Residence, after which they will issue a joint statement.
- At 19:00 President Shimon Peres will host a special evening in the Garden of the President’s Residence, to include a reception, working diplomatic meeting and state dinner for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- At the start of the working meeting they will deliver joint statements in Hebrew and Russian (consecutive translation). During the state dinner the two Presidents will enjoy a special salute to Russian culture. At the start of the dinner, they will deliver speeches in Hebrew and Russian (simultaneous translation).
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