Report: Israel’s New FM Passed US Message to Russia’s Lavrov

Israeli media reports that Blinken asked Eli Cohen to pass a message

Israel’s new foreign minister, Eli Cohen, spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday and passed a message from the US, The Times of Israel reported.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken held his first call with Cohen on Monday. An Israeli diplomatic official told the Times that Blinken was aware of the planned call with Lavrov and asked Cohen to pass a message, the contents of which the Israeli source did not disclose.

Blinken has barely spoken to his Russian counterpart since the February 24th invasion of Ukraine as the Biden administration has largely abandoned diplomacy with Moscow. The only known discussion between Blinken and Lavrov of the war took place in July and focused on a prisoner swap, not the war in Ukraine.

Cohen signaled in comments on Monday that the new Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu might be more neutral toward Russia and Ukraine than the previous government. Cohen said that the Netanyahu government will “talk less” about the war in public.

The previous Israeli governments under Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett did not give military aid to Ukraine but did condemn Russia’s invasion and accused Moscow of war crimes. Before the criticism, Israel attempted to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, and that is a role that the Israeli official who spoke with the Times suggested the new government would pursue.

“When the minister said we would talk less, the intention was Israel’s attempts at mediation, the public nature of which — in his opinion — harmed Israel,” the official said.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov told Cohen Russia sought stronger relations with Israel during Tuesday’s call. “The minister congratulated his Israeli counterpart on taking office and expressed readiness to work together in order to strengthen multifaceted, mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and Israel,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.