Netanyahu told Putin he would be ‘back soon’ after election: report
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he would be “back soon” after losing his reelection bid earlier this year.
A source close to Netanyahu and a European diplomat told Axios’s Barak Ravid that the longtime Israeli leader relayed the message to Putin just days after he stepped down as prime minister.
According to Ravid’s sources, Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov gave Netanyahu a personal letter from Putin describing their time working together. Ravid noted that the two leaders shared a close relationship after Russia’s military involvement in Syria began in 2015.
After reading Putin’s letter, Netanyahu reportedly said, “Tell President Putin I will be back soon.”
This report comes out just days before incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is set to meet with Putin for the first time in Sochi.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Israeli news channel i24 News, “We try not to compare Mr. Netanyahu to the current Prime Minister because Netanyahu worked with President Putin for lots of years and they knew each other very well and it takes time to develop new personal relationships.”
Netanyahu was ousted from office on June 13 after Israeli lawmakers voted to install a new government, bringing an end to his 12 years in power. Shortly before leaving office, he lashed out, claiming that he was the victim of a “deep state” conspiracy.
“They are uprooting the good and replacing it with the bad and dangerous,” Netanyahu said on the right-wing Israeli news outlet Channel 20. “I fear for the destiny of the nation.”
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