Russia's Chief Rabbi:
'Putin won't let the Iranians do as they please'

'It's clear to Russians that Syria won't be stabile if they allow Hezbollah to control territory.'

Mordechai Sones,

Lazar and Putin
Lazar and Putin

"I believe Moscow's goal is to preserve quiet in the region, and certainly not to let the Iranians do whatever they want and bring about harm to Israel," says Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar in an interview published this weekend in the Makor Rishon weekly supplement.

The rabbi, who maintains ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Russian leader was unwilling to give Iran - or Iran's proxies - free rein in the region.

"The Russians also know that there will be no stability in Syria if they allow Hezbollah and terrorist organizations to take control of the territory."

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar at Novo-Ogaryovo
צילום: Reuters

"There is a dispute between Russia and America over how to bring peace to Syria, but everyone understands if there is strengthening of Hezbollah or other forces that speak of a war against Israel, it certainly will not do any good," he said.

Referring to events of the previous weekend on the northern border, the rabbi said: "I'm not an expert on the matter, and I can't say what the Russians know and what they don't. I understand there's daily contact between Russia and Israel on these matters, and I'm certain Netanyahu spoke to Putin about the issue.

"Putin's goal is that no one in the region will think he can start a war and launch rockets," he said, adding that "from all leaders of Israel who met with Putin I heard the phrase 'We have a friend in the Kremlin.' They understood that he was willing to listen, and also to come towards us in many cases."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar
צילום: Reuters