Putin Bennett
© Evgeny Biyatov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Sochi, Russia, 22 October 2021. This marks the second time that Moscow has summoned the Israeli ambassador since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine.
The Israeli Ambassador to Russia, Alex Ben Zvi, was summoned by Russia's foreign ministry on 18 April to answer questions about "anti-Russia remarks" made by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid last week.

Following the UN removal of Russia from the human rights council (UNHRC) over its special military operation in Ukraine on 14 April, Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid issued a statement saying: "There is a war in Europe. Again, a large and powerful country invades without any justification for the territory of a smaller and weaker country. Once again, the earth absorbs the blood of the innocent."

Lapid then doubled down in his condemnation of Russia, stating "the images and testimonies coming from Ukraine are appalling. The Russian forces committed war crimes against a defenseless civilian population. I strongly condemn these war crimes."

The Russian foreign ministry labeled the accusations made by Lapid as "regrettable."

Moscow fired back by stating that Israel's focus on the Ukrainian conflict was made to distract the world from the crisis in Palestine.

"There was a poorly camouflaged attempt to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine to distract the international community's attention from one of the oldest unsettled conflicts - the Palestinian-Israeli one," the Russian foreign ministry stated, according to TASS.

Israel is facing a crisis due to what is potentially a new uprising from Palestinians not seen since the Second Intifada.

Several attacks against Israelis by Palestinians have occurred in recent weeks, including one in Tel Aviv in which the shooter evaded large numbers of Israeli forces for hours before being found and killed.

Since then, occupation forces have been launching raids in the West Bank which were met by fierce local resistance.

Additionally, extremist Israeli settlers are seeking to desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque by sacrificing animals for the holiday of Passover, which is seen as a blatant provocation by the Palestinian resistance. Palestinians consider such insults to be a red line and an invitation for retaliatory strikes against Israel.

Since 15 April, extremist settlers have attempted to raid Al-Aqsa daily. Despite being stopped by police from entering the Islamic holy site on the first day, on 17 April they were allowed into the compound under the protection of occupation forces who then brutalized Palestinian worshippers.

Israel focused its attention on Ukraine both before and during the recent uprisings in Palestine.

Israeli mercenaries were confirmed to have joined the large mass of foreign fighters on the side of Kiev against the Russian army. Additionally, Tel Aviv has been working with Turkey on a potential Turkey-Israel gas route that would directly compete with Russian exports to Europe.

Aside from summoning of the Israeli ambassador to Russia twice since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett demanding that the ancient Orthodox church in Jerusalem be placed under Russian control.