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Israel’s PM Naftali Bennett to Cabinet: Meeting With Putin Was a ‘Moral Obligation’
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett heads from Moscow to Berlin for a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Schultz, on March 5, 2022. (Courtesy)

Israel’s PM Naftali Bennett to Cabinet: Meeting With Putin Was a ‘Moral Obligation’

Israel’s Prime Minster Naftali Bennett told his Cabinet on Sunday that he met the previous day at the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin “to assist the dialogue between all of the sides, of course with the blessing and encouragement of all players.” Bennett reportedly is coordinating his efforts with the United States, France and Germany. He added that: “Even if the chance is not great — as soon as there is even a small opening, and we have access to all sides and the capability – I see this as our moral obligation to make every effort.” It was Putin’s first meeting with a world leader since the start of his invasion in Ukraine. Bennett traveled to the meeting in Moscow and then on to Germany to update Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday, despite travel being proscribed, since the motive was to save human life. Bennett told the Cabinet that Israel is prepared for a significant wave of immigration as a result of the situation; figures of 10,000 to 20,000 new immigrants from the war-torn area have been floated in recent days. Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees already have arrived in Israel. Israel’s Immigration and Absorption Ministry announced that new immigrants from Ukraine will be granted special status which gives them a one-time payment from the state of about $1,800 per immigrant and up to about $4,580 for a family. All new immigrants also receive a basket of benefits during their first six months in Israel. Meanwhile, Israel’s Education Ministry said it is preparing to absorb some 2,000 new Ukrainian immigrant school children into the education system. Meanwhile, Bennett’s office announced that prior to the start of the Cabinet meeting, Bennett spoke with Zelenskyy for the 3rd time in 24 hours.

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