Mar 27, 2012

Curious Development: Russian Czar Putin Set to Visit Israel in June

Joel C. RosenbergBy Joel C. Rosenberg

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Last week, Russian troops entered Syria. We also learned that Moscow needs oil prices to rise from about $110 a barrel today to $150 a barrel for the next few years to allow Russia to fulfill recent promises to rebuild its military and increase pay for soldiers, policemen, retirees, and others. This raised the possibility that Russia might seek to foment more instability in the Middle East—not less—to help drive up the price of oil and bring more tax revenues into the Kremlin. That’s why last week I wrote a column entitled, “Evidence Grows that Israel Is Set for War, but What if Russia Intervenes?” I also discussed the implications of these developments over the weekend at a conference in southern California on “Israel, The Church and the Middle East Crisis.”

Vladimir Putin

Now comes a curious new development: Vladimir Putin will make a high-profile visit to Israel in June, not long after he is sworn in as Russia’s new president on May 7th. News reports indicate Mr. Putin’s first foreign trip upon reclaiming his power will be to the U.S. for the G8 summit on May 20. That makes sense. The U.S.-Russian relationship has widely been considered the most important bilateral geopolitical relationship on the planet since the end of World War II. But with all the other important countries and leaders in the world Mr. Putin could visit, why is he choosing to make meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu his first objective after his meeting with President Obama? What is the Russian leader’s motive? What does he want to accomplish, and why? Will Putin seek to pressure Israel not to launch a preemptive strike on Iran? Will he visit other countries in the epicenter on the same trip? Will he, for example, visit Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, as well? What about other countries mentioned in the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39? It’s too early to say, but a development well worth watching closely.

Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin wants to visit Israel in June, and has expressed interest in unveiling a monument in Netanya honoring Jewish Red Army soldiers who fought in World War II, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz on Monday.

There have been no talks about specific arrangements because Putin has yet to be inaugurated, the source said. After he is sworn in on May 7, Israel is expected to begin preparing for his visit, the date of which will be formally announced, the official said.

Israel is expected to be Putin’s second foreign destination after he is inaugurated on May 7. Putin is due to travel to the United States on May 20 to attend the G8 summit, where he is slated to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Putin last visited Israel in April 2005, when Ariel Sharon was prime minister. The highly irregular visit took place on Passover, with only three weeks’ notice. Israel lobbied unsuccessfully to get the visit postponed.

Related Links
Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin to visit Israel in June • Haaretz
Russia gets a modern army • Russia & India Report
Russian troop deployments in the south • Hot Air (J.E. Dyer)
The Battle of Gog and Magog • Pre-Trib Research Center (Mark Hitchcock)
Obama, Putin To Meet On Syria, Missile Defense • International Business Times