On the plane home from Sochi, with an exhausted PM and a prediction from Elkin


September 13, 2019
JFJFP
Netanyahu even considered taking a nap across seats in the press area. But having led him out of the Hamas line of fire, his bodyguards weren’t going to leave him exposed again

Vladimir Putin, right, welcomes Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Sochi, Russia

Shalom Yerushalmi reports in The Times of Israel:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked exhausted and seemed unusually uninhibited on his flight from Sochi Thursday night, heading home after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. So exhausted and uninhibited, in fact, that he ventured out of the First Class cabin and toward the back of the plane, to the press area, to try to get some sleep. “You guys have three seats each,” he explained, picking up a blue blanket. “In my seat up front, I can’t even stretch my legs properly.

“Just don’t bother me with your questions,” he added as he prepared to nap.

The idea, however, didn’t sit well with his Shin Bet body guards. On Tuesday evening, they had led Netanyahu off the stage at an election rally in Ashdod, to the sound of sirens warning of rockets launched by Hamas from Gaza. Being required now to protect the premier from the madding crowd of journalists, ready to fire questions on all cylinders, was too much for the security detail, and they made this clear to him.

So Netanyahu turned around, apparently disappointed, and went back to his cramped seat at the front of the plane. He spent the rest of the flight on his laptop, plugged into the electricity socket between the chairs.

Netanyahu has traveled numerous times to Russia. And while this one-day trip came just five days before the general elections, it was not solely for the benefit of his campaign. The army officers who escorted him weren’t lying when they stressed the need for constant and maximum coordination between Russia and Israel – everywhere, all the time, with direct lines of communication and plenty of Russia-speaking Israeli officers.

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