Breaking news: Israeli PM Bennett meets with Putin in Moscow in peace bid

March 05, 2022


[Note by Tom Gross]

Sources in Jerusalem have just revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has just concluded an unannounced 2.5 hours meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is the first foreign leader to meet with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Israel is the only democracy in the world (other than perhaps Turkey) that enjoys good relations with both Russia and Ukraine. Warm ties with both countries were carefully nurtured over the last decade by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bennett, an orthodox Jew, made the extremely unusual step of breaking the Jewish Sabbath to fly to Moscow today at the request of the Ukrainian and Russian leaders. Observant Jews are barred under Jewish law from flying on the Sabbath, but a senior Israeli rabbi granted Bennett an exemption for humanitarian reasons.

Bennett was accompanied to Moscow by Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata, Israeli diplomatic adviser Shimrit Meir, and Soviet-born Israeli Housing Minister Ze'ev Elkin, who acted as his translator. Elkin previously got to know Putin well over the years while serving as an aide to Netanyahu.

Bennett has also held several calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Putin in recent days.

Bennett may fly from Moscow directly to Berlin this evening to hold talks with the German chancellor.

The UN this afternoon confirmed that the overall civilian death toll since Russia invaded Ukraine nine days ago has risen to 351

For more analysis, please see my TV interview in the dispatch sent this morning:


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