September 25, 2018 | Opinion

For the first time in decades, Israel finds itself on the receiving end of Russian threats. The tensions follow the downing last week of a Russian Ilyushin IL-20 military aircraft, and the deaths of its 15 crew members, by Syrian air-defense batteries responding to Israeli airstrikes on Iranian weapons shipments in Syria.

A crisis like this one cries out for US diplomacy to help manage it. So far, there’s no sign of it.

Two things have facilitated Israel’s campaign against Iranian weapons in Syria: the careful, professional approach of the Israeli Air Force, which hits its intended targets and avoids collateral damage; and Israel’s deft management of its relationship with Russia, since the Russian military deployed to Syria in 2015.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu works well with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the two countries’ air forces maintain a deconfliction channel to prevent accidents…

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