New poll sees Netanyahu falling behind in Israel election

Moscow theater? Bibi’s meeting with Putin designed to woo Israelis ahead of election, analyst says

On Thursday, Netanyahu paid a surprise visit to Russian Federation, where President Vladimir Putin announced his country's instrumental role in recovering the remains of an Israeli soldier who went missing in action in Lebanon in 1982.

Israel has been calling on Russian Federation to use its influence in Syria to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from securing a lasting presence in the country.

According to media reports, Israeli prime minister would offer Putin a plan on the Syrian settlement.

Sergeant First Class Zachary Baumel had been listed as missing along with two other Israeli soldiers after a deadly battle with Syrian forces in a Lebanese village.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Moscow was motivated primarily by a desire to show tired voters ahead of Israel's upcoming election that he is a respected leader on the world stage, an analyst told RT.

Hours earlier the Israeli leader met in Moscow with Putin, who described how Russian and Syrian forces had located Baumel's remains, and that it had been a hard task.

The Russian defence ministry said it handed over Baumel's remains to Netanyahu in a ceremony at its headquarters.

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The disappearance of Baumel has long troubled Israel.

"I would like to thank you, on behalf of the people of Israel, on behalf of the soldiers of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces), and on behalf of the mothers and fathers of all our soldiers", Netanyahu said at the ceremony in remarks released by his office.

Netanyahu had earlier said that he won't let Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas return to Gaza and expressed satisfaction for having two isolated entities in Gaza and the West Bank and settlement construction will go on.

The precise location of his remains was not disclosed, but Netanyahu said Russian soldiers had risked their lives to get them.

Netanyahu, who is campaigning for a new term ahead of elections next week, said he had asked Putin to help Israel find Baumel's remains two years ago.

"You personally responded and gave the order to help in this holy deed", he said, thanking the Russian leader.

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