Putin in Israel upstages Obama, points up waning U.S. influence

Israel is rolling out the red carpet for Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit, unveiling a memorial to Russian soldiers who died in World War II, a cordial meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, a welcoming parade of top dignitaries and -- most important -- a big push to strengthen economic and strategic ties. Putin's visit spotlights the fact that one-sixth of Israel's population is Russian-speaking -- a reminder of the mass exodus of Soviet Jews in the final stages of the Soviet Union.  And these Russian immigrants have become an invaluable asset of human capital in the Jewish state, helping to lubricate relations with Moscow. "Russian immigrants have had the most successful integration into Israel of any immigrant group," remarks Dr. Aaron Lerner, director of Independent Media Review and Analysis in Kfar Sava.  "Former Russians can be found at all levels of politics, government, industry and the academic world." In the meantime, the rise of fanatical Islamism...(Read Full Post)