Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to arrive in Israel next Monday for a visit during which he will attend an unveiling of a monument in Netanya to commemorate the Red Army's victory over Nazi Germany.
The trip will mark Putin's first official visit to Israel since 2005.
He will then continue on to Bethlehem and Jericho to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, before heading to Jordan on Tuesday where he will be greeted by King Abdullah.
Putin's visit to Israel comes at a tense time given Israel and Russia's contrasting policies on Syria and Iran. An Israeli official said this week, however, that Putin's visit has less to do with politics and more with internal Russian affairs. After landing in Israel on Monday, Putin plans to attend an unveiling of a monument in Netanya erected in memory of Soviet soldiers who were killed in WWII.
The unveiling of the monument follows a promise by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Putin in 2010 that Israel would erect a memorial to recognize the Red Army's defeat of the Nazis.
Putin is also scheduled to visit "Sergey's Courtyard," in the Russian Compound in downtown Jerusalem, which houses a large Russian Orthodox Church and other historic buildings. "Sergey's Courtyard," which previously housed Israeli government ministries, was returned to Russian ownership in 2008 at Putin's behest.
Ahead of his visit to Israel, Putin called both monuments "especially important" and plans to visit them immediately after meeting with Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres on Monday. Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman is also expected to greet Putin when he lands.
Peres is set to fill in for Netanyahu at the Netanya memorial inauguration due to prime minister's recent leg injury.
The large memorial at the "Yad Lebanim" compound in Netanya was donated by Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal with the generous help of private donors from the former Soviet Union.