There are many signs of a deterioration of relations between Russia and Israel since the start of the war in Gaza, and they have stoked concern about potential flashpoints between the two countries, not least in Syria, where both have a military presence.
Representatives from both sides have been openly bickering at various diplomatic meetings in clashes that have become almost commonplace.
There was a revealing example at the United Nations, where Moscow’s permanent representative, Vasily Nebenzya, said that Israel is an occupying power and has no right to defend itself. On his part, Israel’s ambassador, Gilad Erdan, called Russia “the last country” that could teach Israel how to respect international law.
There was particular outrage from Israel at the visit of a delegation from Hamas to Moscow and at an antisemitic mob seeking out Jewish passengers at Dagestan airport.
Other instances of authorities failing to take action against similar incidents have followed, including in Makhachkala and Khasavyurt, as well as the burning of a Jewish centre that was under construction in Nalchik.
Israeli politicians have spoken out over such events in Russia. Knesset member Ze'ev Elkin – a former co-chairman of the intergovernmental Russian-Israeli Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation – said that the events in Dagestan cannot be viewed in isolation from the behaviour of the Russian leadership.
He argued that relations were already damaged before the conflict in Gaza, pointing to February 2022 as a turning point when Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine.
After the decline in relations, there have been reports that the Israeli military has launched strikes in Syria without prior notification to Russia, adding to the chances of a more profound crisis between the two countries.