Starting next summer, Russia and Israel will conduct their very first joint military exercise over the Mediterranean, according to Israeli website DEBKAfile.
This was agreed upon during a meeting in Moscow on July 7 between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Russia will use its naval port in Tartous and the Hmeimim Airbase in Latakia to coordinate the exercise with Israel, which will use its military facilities in Asdood and Haifa.
Russian companies have also been given permits to build improvements on two gas field in Israel while Putin has promised to protect the Jewish state’s energy interests in the region.
Long-term, the agreement with Russia will help Israel become less dependent on the United States, the main ally of Israel since its inception.
However, the move will likely anger Damascus which remains at a state of war with Israel following its annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights in 1981.
Israel and Syria went to war in 1948, 1967 and 1973; the two countries have never signed a peace treaty.