Russian Senators Visit Israel to Discuss 'Joint Struggle Against Terrorism'

Visit to focus on mutual interests, security coordination and the situation in the Middle East, organizers say ■ Delegation includes Sergey Kislyak, a central figure in the probe into Russian meddling in U.S. elections

Russian delegation of senators visits Israel's Knesset, December 19, 2018.
Yitzhak Harari / Knesset Spokesperson's Office

A delegation of Russian senators began a visit to Israel on Wednesday with a meeting at the Knesset to discuss the "joint struggle against terrorism and anti-Semitism."

The Russians senators are expected to meet their Israeli couterparts to discuss cooperation to "advance the two countries' mutual interests, security coordination and the situation in the Middle East in general, with an emphasis on the northern front."

The five senators serve on the foreign affairs committee and the committee on defense and security at the upper chamber of the Russian parliament.

They met Wednesday with the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Avi Dichter (Likud), and will meet during their two-day visit with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin and with a senior official in the National Security Council.

The senators are expected to tour the Old City of Jerusalem and Israel's northern border, where they will be briefed by senior military commanders.

Russia ended Sergey Kislyak's tenure as ambassador to the U.S. after he became a prominent figure in the controversy over Russia's possible involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

U.S. President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned after lying about contacts with Kislyak. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election after reports that he had not disclosed meetings with Kislyak.