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Will Israel, Russia tighten coordination on Syria?

Israeli security officials debate whether Russian military involvement in Syria will change the balance of power in favor of Israeli interests or against them.
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet takes off from Ovda airbase, some 40 km (25 miles) north of Eilat, during the Blue Flag drill November 25, 2013. The Blue Flag drill is a two-week multilateral air force drill with air forces of Israel, the United States, Greece and Italy. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL - Tags: TRANSPORT MILITARY) - RTX15W65

“We [Israel] conduct occasional operations in Syria in order to prevent it from becoming a front against us … and to thwart the transfer of lethal weapons, particularly from Syria to Lebanon,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a public event in Acre on the afternoon of Dec. 1. It was the first time that any official Israeli source, and the prime minister no less, publicly admitted that Israel was militarily active in Syrian territory.

On Nov. 29, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Israeli public radio that a Russian fighter jet had recently penetrated Israeli airspace "accidentally." Ya’alon said, “The jet penetrated about a mile into our territory." He added, "We established radio contact with it and it immediately returned to Syrian airspace.”

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