(Photo credit: EPA)
Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz revealed on 26 July that Russia fired an anti-air missile against the Israeli air forces during one of their attacks on Syria back in May.
Gantz described this as a “one-off incident” and highlighted that their jets were not hit and that the missile was launched when these “were no longer around.”
In early May, Israel’s Channel 13 News reported that a Russian S-300 missile defense system opened fire on Israeli jets inside Syria.
The Kremlin has provided four S-300 missile defense systems to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), but their operations are exclusively in the hands of Russian officers.
Tensions between Russia and Israel have been on the rise since the start of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.
After Tel Aviv voted on 14 April in favor of a UN resolution suspending Moscow’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council, the Russian foreign ministry called the move “a thinly veiled attempt” to use the Ukraine conflict to distract from Israel’s violations against Palestinians.
The Kremlin has also been critical of Israel’s attacks against Syria, noting that these lead to a decrease in the combat capability of the Syrian armed forces, which reduces the effectiveness of counter-terrorism efforts on Syrian territory.
Last week, the Russian Ministry of Justice ordered the dissolution of the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Israeli interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned on 24 July that if court proceedings finalize the closure of the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency for Israel, bilateral relations between Moscow and Tel Aviv will be harmed.
Dismissing claims that the court proceedings are politically motivated, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said on 26 July that the fate of the Jewish Agency falls solely under the jurisdiction of the Justice Ministry.