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Netanyahu in Ukraine to mobilise votes of Russia speakers

August 19, 2019 at 11:07 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (CR) met with members of a Ukrainian parliamentary delegation in Jerusalem on 10 July 2019 [IsraeliPM/Twitter]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday arrived in Ukraine to mobilise votes of Russian-speaking immigrants who left the former Soviet Union and moved to Israel, Arab48 reported.

Netanyahu’s declared agenda included discussions about agriculture, tourism, education and stipends of retired immigrants.

However, several Israeli analysts said that the hidden agenda behind Netanyahu’s visit to Ukraine is garnering votes ahead of next month’s election.

Sources reported by Arab48 said that Netanyahu is to ask the Ukrainian president to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, but analysts believe no such move will be made as Ukraine does not want to anger the EU which it has been seeking to join for years.

READ: Israel’s Netanyahu suggests his successors 

Russian-speaking Israelis are the traditional constituency of Israel’s Yisrael Beiteinu party headed by Avigdor Lieberman.

Following Israel’s last election, held in April, Lieberman refused to back down on his demands in order to join a Netanyahu-led government and allow the incumbent prime minister to gain a fifth term in office.

His decision led to the Knesset voting to dissolve itself and hold new elections in September.

Lieberman is expected to once again retain the “kingmaker” position following the next election and therefore hamper the formation of a government.