Lapid threatening ‘effect on relations’ if Jewish Agency operations in Russia banned

July 25, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Prime Minister Yair Lapid chaired on Sunday a discussion on the activity of the Jewish Agency in Russia after Vladimir Putin’s administration commenced operations to ban the Agency’s activities in the country, threatening that “closing the Jewish Agency offices would be a serious event that would affect relations.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

Russia’s Ministry of Justice has requested the liquidation of the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency, which helps Jews immigrate to Israel.

Russia’s Interfax agency reported that the court case, filed with Moscow’s Basmanny District Court, will be heard on July 28. The Ministry of Justice believes that the Jewish Agency “violated Russian law in its work,” the report claims.

Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano Shata, Minister of Construction and Housing Zeev Elkin, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Alon Ushpiz, and other senior officials were present at the meeting.

Lapid said that “the relations with Russia are important for Israel, and that the large Jewish community in Russia is important” and is brought up in all diplomatic discourse with the administration in Moscow.

“Closing the Jewish Agency offices would be a serious event that would affect relations,” Lapid threatened.

A high-level Israeli delegation headed by National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata is expected to leave for Moscow in the coming days to discuss the Russian Ministry of Justice’s demand to close the Jewish Agency’s offices. Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Jewish Agency will also participate in the delegation.

Lapid instructed the legal delegation to be prepared to depart for Moscow as soon as the Russian approval for talks is received and to make every effort to exhaust the legal dialogue alongside advancing the high-level diplomatic dialogue on the issue.

An Israeli diplomatic source is quoted as saying that Russia is threatening to close the Jewish Agency as leverage to achieve something, a form of blackmail. Israel is expected to offer Russia something in return for an ease in the pressure.

Another report claims that Russia is upset that Lapid became prime minister. Several sources have noted that Russia’s pressure on the Jewish Agency began after Lapid entered office a few weeks ago. Russia’s ambassador to Israel reportedly sent messages to Israeli sources saying that the Russians are unhappy with Lapid as prime minister because of his statements against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As foreign minister Lapid stated in March that Israel condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is “without justification.” After the massacre in Bucha, Ukraine, in April, Lapid stated that “intentionally harming a civilian population is a war crime and I strongly condemn it.”

Later that month, Lapid described the images and testimony coming from Ukraine as “horrific” and accused the Russian military of committing war crimes against a “defenceless civilian population,” adding that he “strongly condemns these war crimes.”


2 Responses to “Lapid threatening ‘effect on relations’ if Jewish Agency operations in Russia banned”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    The statements made by Lapid about what Russia has done in the Ukraine are nothing but the truth. As Jews, we know to say nothing is tantamount to implicit agreement and we know the terrible consequences of it. So, despite the complex situation of our need for tacit Russian agreement to do what we must in Syria, a blind eye cannot be turned to the Ukrainian situation. Lapid has shown courage and moral fibre in speaking out.

    As to the possible closure of the Jewish Agency in Russia, if that were to go ahead it would show the real makeup of Putin and his crew, and kowtowing to them due to the threat of it occurring is not going to help in the long run.

    The sooner the West helps to put a more immediate end to Putin and his regime, liberating the Ukrainians and rescuing those Ukrainians in Russian hands, including the so-called ‘refugees’ the Russians have spirited off to unknown places, the better off everyone will be, with many deaths saved.

  2. william h rocheblave says:

    the problem with threatening Putin right now, I don’t think he really cares who is threatening him. Hes always been threatened has stopped all the grain from Ukraine. He supplies Europe with what else can you threaten him with.

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