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Netanyahu’s friendship with Putin benefits Israel, but has limits

Moscow played a central role in the release of the Israeli woman who crossed the border into Syria, but might prove less helpful on Iranian entrenchment in Syria or the Palestinian issue.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 4, 2019. (Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP via Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prides himself of his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last week, he had yet another opportunity to expose the extent of this friendship.

On Feb. 19, Syria agreed to release an Israeli woman detained by its security services after crossing the border into the country. The release was achieved after elaborated discussions between the sides, mediated by Moscow. Jerusalem agreed to free two shepherds who had crossed the border into Israel, and to shorten the sentence of Nahal al-Makat from the Druze Golan Heights village Majdal Shams. Another component of the deal was revealed only later on. Israel agreed to purchase an unknown number of the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V to be donated to Syria.

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