Construction and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin on Friday summed up the meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with political reporters before the start of Shabbat, Elkin said that “the meeting was very warm and intimate, we only planned for it to go two hours and it took much longer than that. There was a tour of the mansion and the private house, a place where he does not usually take leaders.”

Elkin, who attended meetings between Putin and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu throughout the last decade, said there was a very high level of intimacy in this meeting between Putin and Bennett.

“The main issue besides the personal discourse was continuity in the good relations between Israel and Russia,” he said.

“There was a very deep dialogue on strategic issues,” he continued, “among them the containment of the Iranian nuclear program, and there was a very broad discourse on the situation in Syria and other issues with security significance, all while preserving the current policy between Israel and Russia on Syria.”

“The Prime Minister presented his views on halting the Iranian nuclear program and halting the Iranian presence in Syria,” Elkin noted. “In terms of the goals we set for ourselves, it went beyond expectations. Above and beyond.”

On the issue of relations between the two countries on the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, it was clarified that Israel is awaiting approval from the World Health Organization.

Minister Elkin noted that the Russians also pointed out the warm atmosphere between the two in the statement summarizing the meeting, which is unusual for the spokeswoman of the Russian government.

Elkin: Bennett-Putin meeting went above and beyond expectations

Josh Toupos

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