Photo Credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90
Red Square in Moscow, February 17, 2019.

The Jewish Agency on Tuesday night issued a statement saying it “wishes to clarify that, contrary to some media reports, no instruction has been received from the Russian government to cease operations by the Jewish Agency-founded organization in the country. Therefore, all Jewish Agency programs and activities will continue as planned.”

On Tuesday, I reported that Russia had undertaken two moves that were hostile to Israel over the past few days: 1. According to the Jerusalem Post, Moscow ordered the Jewish Agency to cease all operations inside Russia; and, 2. According to TASS, Russia strongly condemned Israel’s airstrikes at targets in Syria on July 2 and demanded that Israel stop delivering strikes in Syria (Someone Tell the Outspoken Lapid: Russia Suspends Jewish Agency’s Operations).

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In response to the first part, the Jewish Agency (Working to secure a vibrant Jewish future Since 1929) insisted that “it should further be clarified that as part of ongoing inspection procedures conducted by Russian authorities with The Jewish Agency’s representatives over the past several years and following an administrative inspection procedure that lasted over a year, a letter was recently received at The Jewish Agency’s Moscow offices from the Russian authorities including remarks and criticism of the topics reviewed. These are mainly administrative issues, but the letter points to problems that, according to its authors, have been revealed by the inspection, as well as their possible legal consequences.”

The agency noted that the Russian letter “invites The Jewish Agency to respond in writing to any disagreement regarding the issues raised. Therefore, The Jewish Agency intends to study the issues in-depth, as well as their implications, and to address them accordingly within the framework of ongoing contacts with the Russian authorities.”

And that, dear readers, raises even more questions than the original story, specifically, what were the Russians’ complaints – there were several according to the press release; who at the agency decided to push the panic button and alerted the Jerusalem Post; and how much of the rancor of the past couple of days was, as I suggested, a shot across the bow by the Russians as a warning to the incoming prime minister Yair Lapid.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.