Last week and back-to-back, Netanyahu and Erdogan made day trips to the Russian capital for personal meetings with Vladimir Putin. Polite to both, he also dismissed the worries that brought his guests to Moscow. Why?
Like the setup for a volleyball slam, Putin launched an easy serve with greetings for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Netanyahu returned the volley by comparing today's would-be Persian empire to yesterday's enemy of biblical lore, Haman. With a smile on his face, that's when Putin spiked the ball. That happened "in the 5th century BC," he said. "We now live in a different world."
In two days, Netanyahu is making a day-trip to Moscow. Unaccompanied by the press corps, his biggest concerns center on Syria. Specifically...
In Australia, Netanyahu strengthens economic ties, and invites Australia's PM to visit, "to hike in the Golan Heights." And "by the way," he adds, "the Golan will never go back to Syria; it will always be a part of the State of Israel."
In the wake of Netanyahu's visit to the US, the rest of his away trip has slipped below the surface of international attention. In fact, his visits this week to Singapore and Australia, far away from a self-absorbed West, is a continuation of Israel's strategic alliances with nations to the East - and in the world's southern hemisphere.