On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed support for Israel in its struggle against Hamas and its supporters, and cited the three Israeli teenagers who had been recently murdered.
"I follow closely what's going on in Israel," said Putin to a delegation of rabbis. "I support the struggle of Israel as it attempts to protect its citizens. I also heard about the shocking murder of the three youths. It is an act that cannot be allowed, and I ask you to transmit my condolences to the families."
Putin referenced Jews during the Holocaust, saying, "I remember visiting in the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel, which doesn't allow anyone to remain apathetic, and describes the horrifying atrocities that occurred in those days … here too in Moscow the Jewish community established a Jewish museum that gives a bitter picture of those awful years, and at the same time gives hope to the Jewish people and the Jewish community throughout Russia."
Putin, who spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, told Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef that he is a true friend of Netanyahu and Israel.
The group of rabbis included Yosef, former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, and rabbis of the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE).