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Bennett-Putin talks were "successful" and "very important," Israeli minister says

Zeev Elkin acted as an interpreter for Bennett during his talks with Putin

TEL AVIV, October 22. /TASS/. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Friday talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin were "successful" and "very important," said Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Zeev Elkin, who was accompanying the prime minister on a visit to Russia.

"A very important and successful meeting [of the prime minister] with the Russian president lasted for five and a half hours," Elkin wrote on Twitter, adding "Shabbat shalom from Sochi."

Elkin, who speaks Russian, acted as an interpreter for Bennett during his talks with Putin, Israeli state-run radio station Kan reported.

Earlier in the day, Bennett’s office said that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin had been "warm and positive" and that it "addressed a range of significant issues in bilateral relations." After the talks, "the leaders came onto the terrace of the residence and took a stroll along the residence’s alleys toward the beach." The prime minister had initially planned to return to Israel on the same day, but as the meeting lasted longer, the Israeli delegation decided to stay in Russia until Saturday evening.

In accordance with Jewish tradition, it is forbidden to work on Shabbat from Friday sundown till Saturday evening, so Jews cannot use transport, including planes.

The Israeli prime minister arrived in Sochi on Friday morning on his first official visit to Russia, invited by the Russian president. Bennett took office on June 13, succeeding Benjamin Netanyahu, who had led the Israeli government since 2009. Putin and Netanyahu had been in constant dialogue and held numerous meetings and phone conversations. Elkin, who served in Netanyahu’s cabinets holding a number of positions, was frequently an interpreter at their talks.