Photo Credit: Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia
Night view of the Kremlin Senate, the Kremlin's Senatskaya Tower, and Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square on April 7, 2007

Social activist Alex Rif is warning that Israel “must prepare for a wave of immigrants” from Russia — and that Israel should act before the gates slam shut once again, Ynet reported Monday.

The Jewish Agency recently said it was considering a halt to its operations in Russia due to new demands by Moscow that the agency reveal information about its activities there, according to Ynet.


That information of necessity would include details of people in the Jewish community, including those who have applied to immigrate to the Jewish State, although it would also provide information about the summer camps and educational programs run by the agency in Russia.

Rif pointed out that Russia is not kind to foreign agencies operating within its borders, and warned the Jewish Agency should expedite Russian requests for aliyah before they are stopped from leaving.

“Senior Russian officials have not denied the content of the letter” sent by the Kremlin to the Jewish Agency, she noted.

“It currently takes months and involves a great deal of bureaucracy” to process aliyah applications from Russia, she said.

As with aliyah from every other country in the world, immigration to Israel does indeed involve months of processing and “a great deal of bureaucracy,” some of which is undoubtedly due to typical Israeli culture. However, much of the delay is legitimately due to the necessity of ensuring that immigrants are indeed eligible for aliyah under Israel’s Law of Return.

“Should Russia decide to stop Jewish immigration, leaving Jews stuck in Russia, it will be on our conscience,” Rif contended.

Israeli Immigration and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata has sent an urgent appeal to Prime Minister Yair Lapid, asking him to intervene with Russian officials to resolve the matter.

“Aliyah is a basic right for Russian Jews and we will ensure that it is maintained as such,” Tamano-Shata said.

The Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv has declined to comment on the matter, according to Ynet.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.