OREANDA-NEWS There are no particularly strong changes in relations between Israel and Russia, the ambassador of the Jewish state in Moscow Alex Ben-Zvi told Kommersant. According to him, the relationship can now be described as normal.

"There are ups and downs. However, there are no strong changes," the ambassador said.

Mr. Ben-Zvi added that sometimes Israel is dissatisfied with the position of the Russian side, sometimes vice versa. "We express our discontent to each other, we try to find common ground. It does not always succeed. The visit of the Hamas delegation to Moscow is just an example of such a failure," the ambassador said.

Mr. Ben-Zvi also said that the embassy received information from the Russian Foreign Ministry about the visit of Hamas, but this did not convince Israel that it was a justified step. "There was no need for them to come to Moscow," he stressed.

When asked whether the visit was not justified in order to save the hostages who ended up in the Gaza Strip, the ambassador replied: "If Moscow could release all the hostages, it would be one thing. Our position regarding the hostages is very simple: Hamas must release them. It is not necessary to conduct some kind of hostage-related business. This is not a business. The usual humanitarian approach," the ambassador pointed out, recalling that Moscow was negotiating with Hamas about the release of those hostages who have only Russian citizenship.

As for the calls made in the Jewish state to reconsider relations with the Russian Federation, the ambassador noted that "Israel is a democratic state and there may be three opinions on each issue."

Mr. Ben-Zvi also noted that he does not feel an increase in anti-Semitism at the state level in the Russian Federation as a whole, except for what has been happening in the Caucasus in recent days. But he did not rule out that the situation with anti-Semitism could worsen. "Always very sharp statements against Israel related to the conflict in the Middle East can result in anti—Semitic sentiments among a part of society," he said.