Israel warns Moscow about ‘consequences’ amid Jewish Agency row — Analysis

Banning a key agency in Russia would have a “grave” impact on ties between the two countries, Israeli PM warned

The closure of The Jewish Agency Russia in Russia, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lepid said on Sunday that it will cause serious damage to Russia-Israel relations. The quasi-governmental organization, which promotes the repatriation of Jews to Israel, has been targeted by Russia’s Justice ministry over alleged violations of local law.

“Prime Minister Lapid said in the meeting that ties with Russia are important to Israel. The Jewish community in Russia is large and important and comes up in every diplomatic discussion with the administration in Moscow,” the PM’s office said in a statement.

Closing the Jewish Agency’s offices would be a grave event, which will have consequences on those ties.

A Moscow court stated earlier this week that it received a request from the Justice Ministry for the liquidation of its Russian division.

Russia tells Jewish Agency to leave

Although the nature of the charges against the agency is not known, Israeli media reports that the ministry had issued a warning to the agency earlier in the month regarding a violation of data protection and storage laws. A pretrial hearing is set for Thursday. This could result in the agency being banned.

Israel responded to Russia’s situation by expressing readiness to send a diplomat delegation immediately. “to ensure the continuation” of the group’s activities in the country. The readiness for talks was reiterated on Sunday, with the PM’s office confirming the delegation would be ready to set out for Moscow as soon as “it receives Russian approval for the talks.”

In late 1920, the Jewish Agency was founded. It first helped in the repatriation of Jews to Palestinian lands and then to Israel. Russia has an extensive network of officers and partners that the agency maintains. They are located in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other large cities throughout the country.

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