Israel’s Lapid on Threat To Close Jewish Agency in Russia: We’re Always Ready for Dialogue
Jewish Agency for Israel headquarters in Jerusalem, 3 August 2007. (Creative Commons)

Israel’s Lapid on Threat To Close Jewish Agency in Russia: We’re Always Ready for Dialogue

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Tuesday that Jerusalem was always ready for dialogue with Moscow over the activities of the Jewish Agency for Israel, a quasi-governmental Israeli organization that supports Jewish communal, educational, and welfare programs in Russia and helps facilitate immigration for Russian Jews interested in living in the Jewish state.

“If there are legal issues that arise in relation to the important activity of the Jewish Agency in Russia, Israel is, as always, ready and prepared to engage in dialogue while maintaining the important relations between the countries,” Lapid said in a statement.

Earlier Tuesday, the Kremlin said its move to shut down the Jewish Agency in Russia was purely a legal matter. “There is no need to politicize this situation and project it onto the entire range of Russian-Israeli relations,” Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said in a statement. “It’s necessary to take a careful approach here, but also to realize that all organizations must comply with Russian law,” Peskov said.

Russia’s Justice Ministry requested earlier this month to liquidate the Jewish Agency’s branch in Russia due to unspecified legal violations. A Moscow court scheduled a hearing for Thursday to discuss the matter.

As of 2019, an estimated 165,000 Jews lived in Russia. Approximately 1.3 million Russian speakers, most of them Jews who immigrated from Russia, now live in Israel.

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