Russia accuses Israel of ‘unconstructive and biased’ stance on Ukraine war

July 27, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The position Israel has demonstrated in recent months in regards to the war in Ukraine “is not helpful” and the issue of the Jewish Agency’s activities in Russia belongs only to the legal level and is not a diplomatic issue, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Demonstration at HaBima square in Tel Aviv against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and against Putin, ahead of a screening of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech. Tel Aviv, Mar 20, 2022. Photo by Uri Lev Tager/TPS

Speaking to a local TV channel, Zakharova called Israel’s stance on Ukraine “completely unconstructive and biased,” and is “exclusively in the pro-Ukrainian direction, and not in terms of the Ukrainian people, but only in terms of support for the Kyiv regime, and this was completely in line with the strange and wild voice of the West – it really raised questions.”

Touching on the Russian government’s actions against the Jewish Agency, she claimed that “it is a question for the Ministry of Justice, that’s the information I have. It definitely is a legal matter.”

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

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.”

Commenting on the apparent diplomatic crisis with Moscow, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who previously served as chairman of the Jewish Agency, told the Channel 13 Policy Conference on Tuesday that “naturally, the topic that has been occupying us in recent days. The activities of the Jewish Agency in Russia are a topic that is really close to my heart, so I use two tools: one, there are things that best remain in silence. I think that the less we talk, the better, and it will enable proper handling of the whole issue.”

“Two, I work in full cooperation with Prime Minister Lapid, in full trust. We work for the State of Israel and for the Jewish people. We cooperate, and where I can help I will help,” he said.

“Russia is an important country in the entire region and in general, and there can be different scenarios and 10 different reasons for why and how the event developed. I prefer not to go into analysis. Sometimes we see things that we don’t always understand, and things that we see from here we don’t see from there. Let’s let the processes take a course. The less we talk and the more we do the better,” he added.

A high-level Israeli delegation headed by National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata has been waiting to leave for Moscow for a few 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 take part in the delegation. The delegation is reportedly still waiting for visas.

Also on Tuesday, Israel confirmed reports that there was an exchange of letters between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Yair Lapid on July 5.

Last Friday, the Russian newspaper Kommersant published a story about the Jewish Agency crisis. The report claimed that Putin did not congratulate Lapid on the occasion of his entry into the prime minister’s office.

Reports say that immediately after the publication of the article, the editor of the newspaper received an angry letter of protest from the Russian Foreign Ministry. The report was corrected to reflect the fact that Putin sent a congratulatory letter to Lapid shortly after taking office, and Lapid’s office confirmed the corrected report today.

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