Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL
Russian President Vladimir Putin, January 2020

Prime Minister Yair Lapid has requested to conduct a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin to resolve the Jewish Agency crisis. Lapid is expected to implement former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to Russian President Vladimir Putin to hand over the Alexander Yard in Jerusalem, which has been the subject of a dispute between two branches of the Russian church, one of which is supported by the Kremlin, and in return, Russian authorities will stop harassing the Jewish Agency which is busy trying to get Jews out of Russia while the going is good.

Netanyahu cut the deal for the Alexander yard with Putin following the arrest of grotesquely unfortunate Israeli citizen Naama Issachar with 9.5 grams of hashish on her person in Moscow airport, and her ridiculously harsh sentence of seven and a half years in jail. It was a great incentive for then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deliver the lovely present.


However, in March this year, Jerusalem District Court Judge Mordechai Kaduri revoked the land registration of the Alexander Church Courtyard in the name of the Russian government, since then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the compound is a sacred place, and so, the competent body to determine who owns this holy site was not an administrative body or the courts – but the Government of Israel, which is authorized to decide the issue given various religious and political considerations (Terrible Timing: Judge Cancels Registration of Jerusalem Russian Church Gifted to Putin).

Needless to say, the Russians were not amused. Add to that Lapid’s attacks on Russia’s barbarian invasion of Ukraine, and it was only a matter of time before Putin’s people would be doing some harm to something Israel cared about.

President Isaac Herzog spoke earlier this week with President Putin about Israeli-Russian bilateral relations, including the challenges of the Jewish People in the Diaspora. In this context, Herzog elaborated on the issue of the activities of the Jewish Agency in Russia.

According to a press release from the Israeli President’s Residence, “the phone call was frank and honest. The two Presidents emphasized the important areas of cooperation between Israel and Russia and agreed to remain in contact. President Putin underscored his personal commitment to Holocaust commemoration and the fight against antisemitism. This phone call was initiated by President Herzog at the request of Prime Minister Yair Lapid and in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

The Kremlin press service reported on Tuesday that Putin and Herzog discussed the situation around the Jewish Agency.

Moscow’s Basmanny district court told TASS on July 21 that the Russian Justice Ministry demanded the Jewish Agency, which enjoys the status of an autonomous non-profit organization, be terminated.

“There is a problem with the functioning in the Russian Federation of an organization representing the interests of the Jewish Agency,” according to the ministry, which added that “it was agreed that contacts in this regard will be continued through the relevant departments of both countries.”

TASS described the Jewish Agency as an “Israel-based international organization specializing in the repatriation of Jews and assistance to returnees (sic).” What it really is these days is a means of helping frightened Jews escape their country that’s being turned more fascist with every passing day.

Speaking of which, someone should prepare Lapid for his phone call with Putin, or there’s going to be a very long and uncomfortable silence there.


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