Tel Aviv is radically expanding its good relationship with Moscow. Israel suspended military-technical cooperation with Ukraine – as with Georgia in 2008, when the Russian-Georgian conflict escalated – and revived trade with Moscow. The Israelis explain that they do not aspire to take the role of arbitrator in the Russian-Ukrainian dispute, and the Jewish state will not serve as an instrument of anti-Russian policy for the United States.
Visa-free travel between Israel and Russia continues to exist. More than a million Russian Jews are living in Israel, and thousands of Israelis are working in Russia. Half of the Israeli government and many members of the Knesset speak Russian. Russian language is also used in the Israeli high-tech industry, academics and military as well.
Trade turnover between the two countries this year increased to the amount of just over three billion U.S. dollars. The import of fruit and vegetables from Israel has increased threefold. Russia, unlike the EU, does not restrict the import of agricultural products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. Russia and Israel also want to engage in closer technological cooperation, especially in the military sector.
Politicians in both countries have strong personal ties. Accordingly, Israeli leaders may have a much better relationship with the President of Russia than with the American administration. Prime Minister Netanyahu receives a warmer welcome in Russia than in the U.S.
At the international level, Israel is trying to remain neutral in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Israel’s delegation did not participate in the U.N. vote regarding the resolution on Ukraine prepared by the Americans.