Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to depart for the US on Tuesday, following a security cabinet meeting amid ongoing diplomatic tensions with Russia, following the downing of a Russian spy plane over Syria last week.
The cabinet will convene for a one-hour meeting Tuesday, following Russia’s announcement that it will transfer advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria two weeks from now, and will also bolster the Syrian air defense network by jamming radar of incoming aircraft.
Russia’s defense ministry made the announcement Monday, less than a week after an Ilyushin IL-20 reconnaissance plane was accidentally shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile launched after Israeli fighter jets bombed a military research center in northern Syria.
The Kremlin blamed Israel for the loss of the plane and its 15-member crew, claiming Israeli jets used the IL-20 to hide mask their approach to the target.
Israel has denied Russia’s claim, stating that the IDF jets were out of the area prior to the launching of the missile which downed the IL-20.
Both Israel and the US urged Russia not to transfer the advanced missile systems to Syria.
The deployment of the S-300 missile systems in October is expected to significantly boost the Assad regime’s anti-air defense capabilities – potentially hampering Israel’s ability to target Iranian forces stationed inside Syria.
Netanyahu is expected to depart for New York shortly after Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
The Prime Minister will meet with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, and is scheduled to address the opening ceremony of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, shortly after Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas has announced plans to meet with foreign diplomats during his stay in New York, following the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s offices in Washington DC, and the expulsion of the PLO envoy.