- Israel needs Russia as a friend amidst the tense situation between them and Syria.
- Putin is expected to free Naama Issachar, but he has made public several of his requests from Israel to be included.
- Netanyahu, in his speech, encouraged the leaders of the world to stand behind Israel in their battle of self-defense against the aggressiveness of Iran.
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived Thursday for the commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, and sat next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Before this, he met with the mother of Naama Issachar, the woman imprisoned in Russia for drug smuggling, whom Netanyahu has tried to free. Considering that she only possessed nine grams of cannabis, many have pleaded that the sentence of 7.5 years is unjust. Putin listened to her, and hinted that everything will be fine.
Netanyahu, at his lecture at the conference, made special mention that the concentration camp at Auschwitz was freed by the Soviet Red Army. Israel needs Russia as a friend amidst the tense situation between them and Syria. An 8.5-meter high memorial candle monument was dedicated in Jerusalem in memory of the defenders and residents of the besieged city of Leningrad during World War II. Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, and Vladimir Putin attended this dedication. Approximately 642,000 residents of the city perished in the city of Leningrad, now called St. Petersburg.
President Rivlin pointed out that the date, January 27, was both the date when the blockade on Leningrad was broken, and a year later, the Red Army freed the Jewish prisoners from Auschwitz. Putin is expected to free Isaacher, but he has made public several of his requests from Israel to be included. Namely, Israel will stop disallowing citizens from Russia from entering the country at Ben Gurion Airport; Israel will support Putin’s comments about Poland being responsible for World War II; the railroad route from Jerusalem will be changed, as not to interfere with the Russian Orthodox Church located in Jerusalem; certain places in Jerusalem, which were bought by Russia, should have their ownership recognized.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, on behalf of President Trump, vowed to stand behind Israel against Iran. French President Emmanuel Macron, President Putin, Charles, Prince of Wales, and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier all spoke about the importance of remembering the Holocaust, and acting on its lessons amidst the resurgence of anti-semitism around the world.
Netanyahu, in his speech, encouraged the leaders of the world to stand behind Israel in their battle of self-defense against the aggressiveness of Iran in the area. He said one of the lessons of the holocaust is that a powerless Jewish presence which existed in Europe before the holocaust is no longer the way of survival of the Jewish people. Today the Jewish people have a voice in the world and live in their homeland. The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, offered the seats at the conference reserved for his representatives to be given to Holocaust survivors. Many Holocaust survivors could not enter the celebration hall because of a lack of space.
Amidst the conflict between Russia and Poland, Poland claimed that their President, Andrzej Duda, was not invited to speak at the ceremony. Israel denies this claim, that the reason for him not coming is that he refused to sit together with Putin. Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip against Putin’s planned visit to Bethlehem. They claim that he brutally killed many Syrian civilians, assisting the Assad regime, many of which were Palestinians.
French President Macron visited Ramallah to visit with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas told him, we look forward to France recognizing the Palestinian state, on the 1967, pre-Six Day War borders, and with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinians are planning a new election for president and parliament, and Abbas asked Macron to gather support from the European alliance to allow residents of East Jerusalem to participate in these elections.