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Saturday, October 23, 2021
Remarks of President Putin and PM Bennett as reported on President Putin's Website

Remarks of President Putin and PM Bennett as reported on President Putin's

Meeting with Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett
Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Prime Minister of the State of Israel
Naftali Bennett at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi.
October 22, 2021 10:55

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister,

First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting my invitation and
coming to Russia. Let me congratulate you once again on assuming the post of
Prime Minister of Israel. It could be said that your visit is timed to
coincide with the 30th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic

During this period, Russia and Israel have developed relations that are
unique, to a certain extent, and there are good grounds for this. Firstly,
the Soviet Union, and this country as its legal successor, stood, in effect,
at the origins of the State of Israel. Secondly, Israel has what is probably
the biggest Russian-speaking community outside of Russia, which includes
many surviving veterans of the Great Patriotic War, and we feel special
warmth towards these people.

It should be said that our trade and economic ties are developing
successfully, even though they are still modest in terms of volume. During
the first seven months of this year, trade has grown by 50 percent despite
all the pandemic restrictions. And this is a very important component. There
are also interesting areas - we discussed this with the former Israeli
government - such as the hi-tech branches of the economy.

Of course, it would be very interesting and useful for me to exchange
information with you on the situation in the region. As you may know, we are
taking efforts to restore and strengthen Syrian statehood. There are
problems in this regard, and they are numerous. But there are also points of
contact and opportunities for cooperation, especially where matters related
to fighting terrorism are involved.

In general, we have many issues that we can and should discuss. I am quite
hopeful that despite the domestic political battles and they are
inevitable for any state your government will pursue a policy of
continuity with regard to Russian-Israeli relations. We have developed
sufficiently business-like and trust-based relations with the previous

In any event, we are glad to see the head of the Israeli Government in
Russia. Welcome!

Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett (retranslated): Thank you very much
for the warm welcome, Mr President.

Relations with Russia - these days, we are symbolically celebrating the 30th
anniversary of their resumption - are very special relations for Israel both
because of our common past, and because of our present and future. We
remember the past quite well, the immense efforts undertaken by the people
of Russia and the Red Army to win victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
This was perhaps the most critical moment in the history of the entire world
and, of course, that of the Jewish people.

It is our responsibility to pass on to future generations the feeling of
gratitude that we have towards Russia through the dialogue we conduct, and
through the historical documents, and even through the monuments we build.
For example, the monument to the Russian soldier in Netanya and the monument
to the victims and survivors of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem are two
monuments where you, Mr President, took part in their unveiling ceremonies
while you were in Israel. As a person who paid much attention to the study
of history, I cannot but appreciate the tremendous contribution and efforts
of the Russian people and the huge price that they paid for Victory.

Mr President, I would like to tell you that we are completing the
implementation of a major project - a new museum commemorating the Jewish
soldiers who fought with the Allied armies during World War II, primarily,
of course, the Red Army that had half a million Jewish soldiers, and 200,000
perished at the fronts. This will be a large museum and it will be named
after the late President Chaim Herzog, father of the current incumbent Isaac
Herzog. I would be glad to give you details about the museum during our

I would be glad to discuss with you many subjects related to our current
cooperation and to the development of our economic, scientific, and cultural

We in Israel have one million Russian-speaking "ambassadors." They are
making a huge contribution to the State of Israel, they are bringing great
influence to bear on my country through the culture they have brought along,
through their mentality and work culture, as well as through their

I would like to tell you a story that occurred earlier this week. I was
visiting a wounded soldier at a hospital. His mother is a Russian-speaking
Israeli. This was his second serious wound in the course of this year. I
said: “I am Prime Minister of Israel, I am eager to help you. What can I do
for you?" He replied: “All I want is to be back ASAP at my combat unit."

We will discuss in detail, I am sure, Mr President, our economic
cooperation. As you rightly said, we have much potential and we are able to
actively boost our trade.

We will certainly discuss the situation in Syria and the ongoing efforts to
stop the Iranian nuclear programme.

I would like to say in conclusion that our entire dialogue and all our
relations are based on a very profound bond between our countries and

Mr President, you have spent 20 or even more years consolidating links
between our countries and you have brought them to this level. I would like
to tell you on behalf of our country and all our people that we see in you a
very dear and real friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

(In Russian) Spasibo.

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