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Bennett to Cabinet After Meeting Putin: Russian President ‘Attentive to Israel’s Security Needs’

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett returned to Israel early on Sunday from a meeting in the southern Russian resort city of Sochi. Bennett met on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and was supposed to return the same day but when the scheduled two-hour meeting ran for five hours, Bennett and his entourage had to stay over until late Saturday night to avoid traveling on the Jewish Sabbath, which is prohibited. The Sochi Chabad House reportedly handled the logistics of providing Sabbath meals and religious services. Bennett told his Cabinet on Sunday morning at the weekly meeting that he and Putin “reached good and stable conclusions and I found President Putin to be attentive to Israel’s security needs.” Bennett said that he and the Russian president discussed the situation in Syria and how to “manage the delicate and complex situation there smoothly, without mishaps,” i.e, .to continue to coordinate each country’s activities there. Bennett said that they also “discussed the Iranian nuclear program, the advanced state of which worries everyone.” Bennett added that: “Relations between the two countries are very good but they can always be better. In this case, the potential for economic, scientific, cultural and technological cooperation is endless given the fact that there are approximately one million Russian-speakers in Israel.” Putin called Bennett after the end of the Sabbath and invited the prime minister his wife to visit St. Petersburg soon; Bennett accepted the invitation.