Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem / POOL
Prime Minister Yair Lapid leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on July 24, 2022.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s spokesperson responded on Tuesday to Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov’s statement claiming Moscow’s move to close the Jewish Agency should not be “politicized.”

“The situation should not be politicized or projected onto the entirety of Russian-Israeli relations,” Peskov told reporters at the Kremlin.

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“There are issues from the point of view of complying with Russian law,” he said. “This situation should be treated very carefully.”

Peskov issued the statement in response to a warning from Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid that an order by the country’s Justice Ministry to “dissolve” the Jewish Agency could have “serious” consequences.

“The relations between Israel and Russia are based on a long history, regular communication and mutual interests,” Lapid said Tuesday in response to Peskov’s comments.

“The Jewish community is at the heart of these relations,” the prime minister warned.

“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,” he added.

But those talks may not take place for some time, if at all.

Russia’s Justice Ministry, under the authority of the Kremlin, has still not replied to an Israeli request for a meeting to discuss the matter; since there has been no official approval for such a meeting, the Russian Embassy has not issued visas for the Israeli legal delegation.

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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.