Netanyahu departs for meeting with Putin

"This is a very important journey. It is important the IDF maintains freedom of action against Iranian targets," PM says before departure.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Netanyahu before departure
Netanyahu before departure
Ido Ben Porat

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with reporters before his departure to the city of Sochi, Russia, where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu.

"This is a very important journey at the present time. We are working on several arenas to ensure Israel's security against Iran's attempts and metastases to attack us in the Syrian arena. This is a key arena and it is important for us to preserve the IDF's freedom of action against Iranian, Hezbollah and other targets. The common goal we agree on, which is far from being achieved, is the removal of all Iranian forces from Syria," Netanyahu said.

"This visit is a periodic visit," he continued. “I do not stop dealing with Israel's security because of the elections, and Iran does not stop its attempts to harm us. I am attentive to Israel's security needs during an election period as well.”

He also addressed American conduct against Iran. "President Trump imposed harsh sanctions on Iran two days ago. If the US and the President want to change their policies, I'm sure they will do so under the same policy of pressure and various demands from Iran. I conveyed all the required messages on the issue through the direct pipelines to President Trump and his advisers."

He said there was no surprise in Russian condemnation for his declaration about sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. "What did you think they would say? We received condemnations from Arab countries, but there was no tsunami of condemnations."

"The Americans have said that the plan presented by the prime minister for sovereignty does not contradict President Trump's Deal of the Century. It's an incredible statement. I am paving the way to realizing our security borders, and this is a historic turnaround," he added.

Netanyahu said that the security situation in Gaza would soon require a decision. "Hamas would like to rule the area, but it does not exercise its authority as a sovereign. If they do not, there will be no choice but to enter into a broad campaign. There may be military steps that will precede it, but if a broad campaign is required, the IDF is preparing plans and responses. Hamas understands these things. I don't go to war easily. I think of our soldiers and our citizens. "

The prime minister also addressed the political situation. "Regarding Smotrich and Shaked, it doesn't matter whether Orit Struk enters the Knesset or not. Even if they lose a few seats, they pass the electoral threshold anyway. But if the Likud gets less than Gantz and Lapid, we will lose the elections."

Regarding Otzma Yehudit, he said, "In our polls, Otzma Yehudit passes the electoral threshold."