Photo Credit: Yossi Funt / GPO
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Feb. 16, 2023.

A Moscow Court on Friday began hearings on the Russian Justice Ministry’s petition against the Jewish Agency in the country. The deliberations were renewed following a lull in the actions against the agency’s Aliyah activities when the court essentially left it alone while engaging only in technical discussions. Now, after keeping the issue on a low flame, the court increased the heat and scheduled for Monday the next hearing on closing down the Jewish Agency in Russia.

The court’s wake-up call came one day after Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s visit to Ukraine, where he promised President Zelensky $200 million in loan guarantees for humanitarian aid.


The attorney representing the Jewish Agency argued on Friday that all the violations that were noted in the justice ministry’s petition have already been corrected, and asked the court to reject it.

The agency was convinced that the threat against its continued operations in Russia had been removed following President Itzhak Herzog’s talk last August with President Vladimir Putin. Herzog was chairman of the Jewish Agency before being elected president.

Herzog also spoke with Putin about the Alexander Church Courtyard. As we reported back then, Interim prime minister Yair Lapid was expected to fulfill Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to Putin to hand over the Alexander Yard in Jerusalem, 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 would stop harassing the Jewish Agency which is busy trying to get Jews out of Russia while the going is good.

It appears that Lapid did not turn over the yard, which includes the Alexander Nevsky Church and several other buildings. The yard was purchased in 1859 by Czar Alexander III, Emperor of Russia, King of Poland, and Grand Duke of Finland. The dispute over who owned Alexander’s Court began after the Russian Revolution of 1917, with two organizations bearing nearly identical names claiming ownership of the complex.

You know, the more I hear about this Lapid fellow, the less I care for him.


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