President Obama’s hostile relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strained the U.S. - Israel alliance for the time being. Israel is now looking to greener pastures for diplomatic support, economic ties, and military relationships. Against the backdrop of a retreating US, Russia appears poised to capitalize on the power vacuum, buttressing Syria’s Assad regime and forging financial connections with new partners, notably Israel.
“Zvi Alon, chairman of the Israel Plant Production and Marketing Board, said that Russia in recent years has become a top market for Israeli produce – and that both countries are interested in increasing that trade,” reports The Times of Israel.
Russia’s deteriorating relationship with Turkey in the aftermath of the downed Russian jet over Turkish airspace signals a historical shift for both countries. The Kremlin has even gone as far as imposing harsh sanctions on the former crown jewel of the Middle East. “President Vladimir Putin signed a decree imposing a raft of punitive economic sanctions against Turkey on Saturday, underlining the depth of the Kremlin's anger toward Ankara four days after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane,” cites Reuters.
Although Israel appears to be the beneficiary of Russia-Turkey tensions, Israel’s economic relationship with Russia began growing a few years ago, when the Arab Spring rendered many autocratic players in the Middle East invalids, wastelands where business go to die.
“Russia became a target market for Israeli farmers long before Moscow decided to pull back in its relationship with Turkey,” notes The Times of Israel. “With European Union labeling rules in effect on produce from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan, and the Golan – as well as international boycott efforts aimed at Israeli products in general – Israel has sought to groom markets outside the EU for its products, services, and technology.”
“With European Union labeling rules in effect on produce from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan, and the Golan – as well as international boycott efforts aimed at Israeli products in general – Israel has sought to groom markets outside the EU for its products, services, and technology.”
The Times of Israel
Both the Russians and the Israelis know full well that stable states, whether governed with an iron fist or democratic protocols, boost GDP and promote economic growth. Security is a prerequisite for business development. Compared to the Kafkaesque nightmare of the Arab world, Israel is flourishing as a hub of tech innovation and visionary research, rivaling the West in terms of growth potential.
Meanwhile, Russia’s recent aggression has backed Putin into a corner, as Kremlin oligarchs scramble to reassess the global marketplace and deftly work around U.S.-imposed economic sanctions.