Netanyahu: I told Putin we would cooperate or we would clash

PM Netanyahu recounts how he and Russian President Vladimir Putin began military coordination over Syria, preventing military incidents.

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Gary Willig,

Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed a wide array of security and regional issues facing Israel in an interview with Channel 9 on Israel's Independence Day.

"There is a very big change in the perception of the countries in the region regarding Israel. They understand today that Israel is a great force for security and for exports, and that [fact] creates different possibilities in our region," Netanyahu said.

Addressing relations between Israel and Russia over Syria, the prime minister said: "I told [Russian President Vladimir] Putin - either we will coordinate between our armies or we will clash with each other."

Netanyahu spoke about his meeting with President Putin in Moscow during September 2015.

Putin supports the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war and has intervened militarily to aid Assad. Israel has been accused of a number of attacks on Syrian soil in recent years, mostly against weapons shipments to the Hezbollah terrorist organization, which has sworn to bombard Israel but is also fighting in Syria on behalf of Assad.

"Everyone has an interest in preventing an unnecessary clash," Netanyahu said following his 2015 meeting with Putin. It's enough to imagine the alternative – a dangerous confrontation with Russia, and dealing with these misunderstandings after the fact – to understand the importance of this visit."

Netanyahu also laid out his red lines on the Iranian issue to Putin during their meeting.