The Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, has denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria as a “mistake” and expressed the hope that Israel could “deal” with the threat.
According to a report in the Israel National News service, Lazar—described as “one of President Putin’s closest associates,” said the delivery of the S-300s to Syria “will only bring more difficulties” to the Middle East.
“I think this transfer story has been going on for many years, and it was the incident of the Russian plane that ultimately led to the unequivocal decision—that Russia must deliver this material to protect its aircraft. I think this is a mistake, which will only bring more difficulties to the region,” Rabbi Lazar was quoted as saying.
According to Rabbi Lazar, the S-300 system is not an existential threat, the report continued.
“I’m sure that Israel and the IDF have the technological options to deal with the enemy today, as well as with the S-300. We are talking about this issue with President Putin in order to sharpen the sensitivity of the subject.”
Rabbi Lazar added that “We very much hope that Israel’s cooperation with the Russians will continue and that the state will continue to maintain its borders and do everything it needs to ensure that the threat of the enemy does not reach its gates. Our relationship with Russia is important and we must continue it, but not rely on anyone but on ourselves.”
The use of the word “ourselves” in this comment clearly indicates that Rabbi Lazar is talking of himself as being part of Israel, not Russia. Jews are often accused of “double loyalty,” that is, to Israel and the nationality which they might hold, but as Lazer here admits, there is no such thing and actually only a single loyalty.
In a related report, Galei Tzahal (Israeli Army Radio) announced that it would have to deploy its F-35I stealth fighters to continue its attacks on Syria.
Galei Tzahal quoted a source in the Israeli Air Force who said that in light of the situation in Syria, Israel has decided to increase the use of F-35 stealth fighter in its attacks on Syria.
“The coming attacks won’t be the first, but they will be safer for the pilots in light of the new reality in Syria’s skies,” the source told Galei Tzahal.
“This is the most expensive weapon in the world, and it’s the most advanced airplane in the world. Israel paid 125 million for each plane, and the Defense Ministry purchased 50 of the Model A planes… Our planes are called the F-35I. Eight of the planes have already landed in Israel and 33 are expected to arrive by 2021.”
“We are flying the F-35 over the entire Middle East and that has become part of our operational capability,” Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said then. “We were the first in the world to attack with the F-35. The Israeli Air Force has twice carried out strikes with the F-35, on two different fronts.”
The IAF must increasingly rely on the futuristic stealth capabilities of the troubled F-35 jet if it’s to continue its raids with impunity, after Syria’s air-defenses were boosted with S-300 systems, Israeli army radio reports.
The Russian threat also includes the decision to jam radar, navigation, and communications systems on any aircraft attacking targets in Syria, and the report admitted that this would further complicate missions.
Earlier this week the Russian Defence Ministry released video footage of the delivery of S-300 systems, interceptor missiles, radars and other hardware to Syria.
The footage showed the military hardware being unloaded off the world’s largest military transport jet, the Antonov An-124 Ruslan (the Condor), designed to carry a payload of 120 tons. The video shows the gigantic front cargo doors of the aircraft opening up, through which the Russian servicemen rapidly unload an S-300 launcher, radar and control vehicles, as well as the mounting of surface-to-air interceptor missile tubes onto a hauling unit.
According to Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu a total of 49 pieces of military equipment were supplied to Damascus and all of it will be integrated with the Russian anti-air capabilities into a unified air defense control system by October 20, while Syrian crews will be trained to operate the new hardware within three months.