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Putin Reaffirms Israel-Russia Ties

By The Jerusalem Post

According to the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin "cordially" congratulated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on his birthday, and sent greetings on the occasion of Succoth.

Amid Russia's stepped up military activity in Syria and increased tension between Moscow and Washington, Netanyahu spoke with Putin on Friday, while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to come for a visit on November 10.

As has been the case in the past, the Kremlin issued a brief statement about the Netanyahu-Putin call, while the Prime Minister's Office did not issue any kind of read-out. According to the Kremlin, Putin "cordially" congratulated Netanyahu on his birthday, and sent greetings on the occasion of Succot:

"The two leaders exchanged greetings on the occasion of the 25th anniversary [October 18] of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Russia and Israel, and emphasized their interest in further developing multifaceted bilateral cooperation. They also discussed urgent international and regional issues."

This was the sixth phone call between the two leaders this year. They have also met four times in the past 16 months. The Russian embassy in Tel Aviv, meanwhile, announced Medvedev's planned trip, saying on its website on the day marking the restoration of relations that the visit will focus on ways to strengthen cooperation in various fields.

"Over the years, our two countries and peoples managed to escape from the unfortunate period of mutual alienation and become genuine partners who understand and who know how to respect each other's interests," the statement on the website read. "Russian-Israeli relations have a special character, largely because Israel is home to over a million of our compatriots. The Russian-speaking community is a powerful catalyst for the development of bilateral political, economic, cultural, business and cultural ties."

Last month, as Russian-US relations continued to sour, Netanyahu explained Jerusalem's relationship with Moscow when he received an award at the conservative Hudson Institute in New York. He stressed, however, that the US was Israel's most important and "irreplaceable" ally.

Asked in an on-stage interview why Moscow – which is buttressing Assad's regime in Syria and is a staunch ally of Iran – wants a stronger relationship with Israel, Netanyahu enumerated a number of different interests.

The first interest, he said, "is to make sure that militant Islam doesn't penetrate and destabilize Russia. There are many, many millions of Muslims in Russia, including in greater Moscow, I think it's up to two million. And the concern that Russia has, which many other countries have, is that these populations would be radicalized."

Blocking militant Islam at its source by fighting Islamic State in Syria, he said, was one of the explanations for the Russian involvement there. Once there, he added, it was in both Israel and Russia's interest to coordinate "in order not to crash and clash" with each other.

"So periodically, we have to sort of tighten the bolts because not everything that is said at the top necessarily reaches the bottom levels, the field levels," he said. "They do on the Israeli side, but they don't necessarily always do so on the other side."

Netanyahu said that Putin was also interested in good ties with Israel because it is interested in Israeli technology. He also mentioned the million Russian speakers in Israel who form a "human bridge" between the two countries.

Muslims at Ben Gurion Airport Using Jewish Tallit as Rugs for Prayer


Jews in Ben Gurion Airport were dismayed to discover Turkish Muslims praying in the airport's shul, on the eve of the holiday of Simchat Torah. The Muslims were using Jewish prayer shawls (tallit) as prayer rugs. See

It is not clear if someone gave the Muslims permission to use the synagogue. A video of the event was uploaded to Facebook by Yossi Cohen:

120,000 Americans Registered to Vote from Israel


The Republican campaign to register American voters in Israel has brought about a 60% rise in voter registration compared to 2012. According to party statistics, about 120,000 voters currently in Israel have registered to vote in the US presidential race, and some have already cast their ballots. In 2012, that number was about 75,000.

Republicans see this as a net success, since they estimate that the vast majority of US citizens living in Israel would prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton. Senior trump campaign staffers arrived in Israel in recent days to meet the party's strategic team in the Holy Land. They will help them prepare for the presidential campaign's final stretch, which will include events in Israel.

`Friends' Co-Creator Takes on US Remake of Israeli TV Show About Orthodox Family


A producer who co-created the popular US television sitcom "Friends" is working on a remake of a hit Israeli TV show about a haredi Orthodox family.

Marta Kauffman, who is Jewish, teamed up with her daughter, producer Hannah K.S. Canter, to create a series based on "Shtisel," which has attracted audiences of all backgrounds in Israel. The Israeli original centers around the haredi Orthodox Shtisel family and their tales of love and loss. Kauffman's adaptation, called "Emmis," will be set in the New York borough of Brooklyn and will be available through Amazon Prime, the online retailer's streaming service, Variety reported. The Israeli-American director Etan Cohen is writing the script.

Canter learned about "Shtisel" when she saw clips from the drama at an event organized by the National Association of Television Program Executives. "She was haunted by it," Kauffman said of her daughter's initial reaction. "She fell in love with it, and the same thing happened with me. It stays with you. We knew it wouldn't be easy to sell, but we all felt so passionately about it."

"Emmis" will closely follow its Israeli counterpart, but Kaufmann is making adjustments to ensure that Jewish traditions that may be unfamiliar to a U.S. audience does not confound viewers. "In America, the show will be a period piece set in contemporary times. [The family] is living such a different kind of life, it's like a different century," Kauffman told Variety. "In television today, people are taking their time telling stories, so we don't have to explain all the rituals. We will just show it."

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