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Israel Allowing Russian Jets To Use Israeli Airspace

In light of the escalating tensions between Russia and Turkey resulting from the downing of the Russian jet, a remarkable level of trust is being established between Russia and Israel as they pursue their separate aims, and military operations.  To what extent does this suggest an alignment of interests over the future of Syria, now that it is being pronounced a “dead country”?

Israel Allowing Russia to Fly Over Israeli Skies

Senior Defense Minister official Amos Gilad says that “excellent” cooperation prevents Israel and Russia from downing each other’s jets.
Russian jets in Syrian skies sometimes cross into Israeli air space.
Russian jets in Syrian skies sometimes cross into Israeli air space.

Israeli-Russian understandings allow Russian jets to fly over Israeli air space and implicitly let the Israeli Air Force bomb weapons headed from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to Amos Gilad, senior IDF Reserve officer and director of the Defense Minister’s political-security department.

The JewishPress.com previously reported here last month that Russia and Israel have maintained highly secret weekly talks for cooperation that allow both countries air forces to take actions without interference from the other side.

Russia often crosses into Israeli air space while bombing Islamic State (ISIS) and Syrian rebel sites, and Israel last week reportedly bombed Syria to prevent the flow of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Russian president Vladimir Putin said last week that relations with Israel are “excellent.”

The coordination is aimed at preventing an incident such as Turkey’s downing a Russian jet earlier jet last week, an incident that has severely damaged relations between the two countries.

Gilad said on Saturday:

Russian pilots sometimes cross into Israeli air space. Thanks to excellent security coordination, which began with the meeting between Netanyahu and Putin, limits were drawn up.The IDF and the Russia army agreed on security priorities. If there is an incident of infiltration, we know what to do and how to prevent incidents what would cause indecision.

Freedom of action is preserved for the Air Force to prevent Iranian weapons from getting into the hands of Hezbollah.

As for the Turkish downing of the Russian jet, Gilad said that President Recep Erdoğan “has every reason to be sorry” for the action.

Gilad also said that Syria is a “dead country” and that President Bashar al-Assad “collects his salary but does not control the country except for perhaps one-quarter of Syria.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.