The World Tribune is reporting that Israel shot down two Syrian MiG's in a dogfight over the eastern Mediterranean on September 14, 2004. The Israeli fighters had buzzed the Syrian port of Latakia, a major base for the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah. Syrian planes chased the Israel's, who then shot them down.
The Russian response to this incident was to agree to sell advanced missile systems to Syria, the protector-state of Hezbollah.
The US opposes the missile sale and has made that point very clear to the Russians.
Determined to go ahead with the missile sale, Russia's president Vladimir Putin sought diplomatic and public relations cover for the sale.
This appears to have been the purpose of the controversial Chabad medal awarded Mr. Putin at Auschwitz.
At Auschwitz, Mr. Putin spoke of the need to oppose terror – specifically Chechen terror. Yet Mr. Putin did not mention either the 1.6 million Jews murdered at Auschwitz or Israel's ongoing fight against Arab terror.
While in Poland for the Auschwitz ceremony, Mr. Putin confirmed the pending missile sale to Syria in what many saw as a cynical attempt to use the medal and the ceremony as cover for the missile sale.
For his part, Russia's Chabad chief rabbi and perhaps the world's most famous court Jew Berel Lazar has been quoted as saying that his patron Mr. Putin (Mr. Putin appointed Mr. Lazar co-Chief Rabbi in 2002) is good for the Jews.
Rabbi Lazar also has noted that:
“I do not see myself as a political voice who should comment on every move of the government. My job is to keep the Jewish community safe and help to strengthen Russia-Israel ties.”
Antisemitism is on a dramatic rise in Russia. Mr. Putin's response is considered to be weak by most observers.
Mr. Putin is also behind the move to rehabilitate Josef Stalin, the psycopathic mass murderer who, while ruling Russia during and after WW2, pillaged Eastern Europe and destroyed Jewish life in the Soviet Union.
One must wonder how selling advanced missiles to a repressive Stalinist dictatorship that is a patron-state of Hezbollah will further Rabbi Lazar's self-defined mission, unless that mission is other than stated above.