Ahead of Elections, Netanyahu Planning High-level Meetings
Israel’s prime minister, whose campaign slogan is “Netanyahu, Another League,” is seeking to boost his chances at victory in the September 17 national elections by flexing his diplomatic muscles. The premier is already slated to visit India – where he has developed a close personal relationship with counterpart Narendra Modi – just weeks ahead of the vote, and reportedly is now trying to lure Russian President Vladimir Putin to Israel by expediting the establishment in Jerusalem of a monument commemorating the Siege of Leningrad by the Nazis during World War II. The siege lasted two-plus years and cost the lives of 1.5 million Russian soldiers, some 70,000 of which were Jewish. Well over a million civilians – mostly women and children – were evacuated from the city, many of whom subsequently starved to death or perished in the crossfire. The siege continued until January 27, 1944, when the Soviets finally expelled German forces from what is now called Saint Petersburg. According to Israeli media, Putin agreed to attend the inauguration when Netanyahu traveled to Moscow in February. Prior to April’s elections – after which Netanyahu was unable to form a governing coalition, thus prompting a do-over – the Israeli prime minister made a high-profile visit to Washington, where he met with US President Donald Trump in the White House. Netanyahu’s diplomatic clout is one of, if not the, primary reason polls show that Israelis continue to view him as the best candidate to lead the country.