The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced on Tuesday September 10th, that he will travel to Sochi on Thursday September 12th, and is expected to meet President Putin, as he seeks to improve his leadership credentials days before the September 17th polls.
Netanyahu’s strategy has involved trying to pull votes away from his rival Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party who relies on support from Israelis with roots in the former Soviet Union.
In a bid to present himself as Israel's indispensable leader, Netanyahu has also sought to highlight his relations with world leaders, including Putin and US President Trump.
Earlier this week, the PM declared that he would probably travel to Russia to meet Putin to discuss Iran's activity in neighbouring Syria as Russia, Iran and its Lebanese Shiite ally, Hezbollah have backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country's civil war.
Putin and Netanyahu set up a military coordination mechanism in September 2015, soon after Russia became militarily involved in Syria, in order to prevent accidental clashes between the two armies there.
However, the system did not prevent a friendly fire incident in September 2018, when Syrian air defences accidentally downed a Russian plane during an Israeli raid, angering the Kremlin, which blamed Israel.
This will be Netanyahu's first meeting with Putin since April 4th when they met in Moscow, just five days before the last election.
Netanyahu is in a last-minute push for votes ahead of the election as he fights to continue his reign as the country's longest-serving prime minister.