Replete with smiles all around, along with symbolic visits to the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is in Israel. Why is he here? Ostensibly, the reason is to strengthen economic ties between Moscow and Jerusalem. But in Medvedev's own words to Russian journalists, the real focus has to do with other pressing matters.
According to Russian President Vladamir Putin, the US has violated international law by attacking sovereign states; and in the aftermath of those attacks, terrorism has exploded. Instead, he said, the world needs to "learn from Israel. It never lets go. They fight until the end. That's why it exists."
Iran's agenda is to expand its borders, and it is openly saying so. Yesterday a high ranking general bragged that Iran is extending its boundaries "from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean." It is a boundary reminiscent of the First Syrian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BCE.
What makes Putin tick? How does he see himself? What does Russia think about him? How does the world look through his eyes? While something of a hagiography, this two and a-half hour Russia documentary, with English subtitles, is an eye-opener. If you must, watch it in segments. But by all means, watch it all. The insight it provides makes it well worth the effort.
As Russia's Northern Fleet approaches Syria, and hence Israel, Putin and Netanyahu found time to talk by phone. Topics included birthday greetings to Netanyahu and 25 years of relations between the countries. According to the Kremlin, "they also discussed urgent international and regional issues."