Putin Calls Netanyahu To Congratulate Him on Election Victory, New Government
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu this morning to congratulate him on his election victory seven weeks after Israel’s 4th election in five years and hours after Netanyahu called President Isaac Herzog to inform him that he had successfully formed a ruling government coalition minutes before the midnight deadline. Putin reportedly congratulated Netanyau on his election victory and on successfully forming a government. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the call that “there is mutual confidence that Russian-Israeli relations will continue to develop progressively, and contacts at various levels will continue.” Other world leaders called Netanyahu in the hours and days following the November 1 election, and US President Joe Biden waited until nearly a week after the election to place the call. Israel has been walking a fine line between helping Ukraine and putting distance with Russia, over Russia’s involvement with Syria’s long-running civil war and its support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid has been critical of Russia and his predecessor Naftali Bennett attempted to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine. Netanyahu, who has maintained a close relationship with Putin, is expected to be more sympathetic to Russia. Netanyahu’s government, as expected, will comprise his Likud, which garnered a plurality of votes – 23% – in the November 1 election, along with five additional parties. These include three far-right religious parties (Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam) that ran on a joint electoral slate, along with two ultra-Orthodox parties (United Torah Judaism and Shas). Together, they represent 64 members of Knesset – a 53% majority in the 120-seat parliament. By law, the new government must be sworn in by January 2, 2023.