Photo Credit: GPO
Prime Minister Yair Lapid. July 2, 2022

The Israeli government will send a high-ranking delegation to Moscow to defend the Jewish Agency and its activities in Russia.

The Jerusalem-based Jewish Agency for Israel is the largest Jewish nonprofit organization in the world.

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The website of Russia’s district court in Basmanny said the country’s Justice Ministry filed a request on July 15 to liquidate the Jewish Agency branch that promotes immigration to Israel, Reuters reported.

The case is to be discussed on July 28 according to Israel’s foreign ministry, which declined to comment on the matter.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid discussed the Russian government’s intention to dissolve the Jewish Agency branch during a situation assessment held Thursday evening with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Council.

“It was decided to send a joint delegation from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration to ensure the continuation of the Jewish Agency’s activity in Russia,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Thursday night.

Lapid also discussed the issue with Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, and an additional inter-agency discussion is scheduled for Sunday.

“The Jewish community in Russia is deeply connected with Israel. Its importance arises in every diplomatic discussion with the Russian leadership,” Lapid said.

“We will continue to act through diplomatic channels so that the Jewish Agency’s important activity will not cease,” he said.

Moscow’s decision came in the wake of repeated Israeli criticism of the Russian invasion in Ukraine that began on February 24. Six weeks later, Israel’s then-Foreign Minister Lapid had accused Russia of perpetrating war crimes in Ukraine.

Lapid continues to serve as Israel’s foreign minister while he maintains his position as the country’s caretaker prime minister following the collapse of Israel’s government.

The next round of Israeli national elections is scheduled for November 1.

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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 Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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