chapter  10
7 Pages

Among us, the chosen nations: Tendencies in Russian– Israeli relations

In 2011 20 years have passed since the reestablishment of diplomatic contacts between Russia and Israel. Relations between the two countries have a troubled history, but what brings them close in the twenty-first century is the common threat of terrorism by Chechen and Palestinian militia groups. Both Moscow and Tel Aviv present the common view that their opponents should not be considered partisans or freedom fighters but terrorists. Similar concerns have served as grounds for Russian-Israeli cooperation in security. Since 1999 secret-service agencies have been working together and since 2004 common training of anti-terrorism brigades have been taking place. Furthermore, Moscow and Tel Aviv have developed close relations in the field of space technology (since 1994) and energy: there are plans to extend the Blue Stream pipeline1 and join it with the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline in order to strengthen Israeli energy security and to ship gas to Asian markets. Trade is also growing fast especially after the introduction of visa-free travel in 2009. However, bilateral relations are much more ambiguous than one might judge at first sight. This is particularity noticeable in the arms trade: if Russia sells weapons to Syria, Israel will not hesitate to supply Georgia with military equipment. Naturally, in the case of these transactions both countries perceive the another’s policy as opposed to their national interests.