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Russia, Israel navigate narrow straits in potentially turbulent waters

Recent glad-handing between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sparked interest, and intrigue, in the Middle East and beyond.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool - RTX2B0C8

A lot of speculation has arisen over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting in Moscow April 21 with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The last time the two leaders met was Nov. 30. Since then, both have accumulated enough issues to discuss in person, while recent regional developments added the flavor of urgency to the talks. 

There were numerous grounds for the speculation: The meeting came three days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited Russia; many observers are alarmed by reports in recent weeks of potential clashes between Russian forces and Israeli aircraft; and the Israeli government had its first recent field session in the Golan Heights.

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