Israelis fear Russia may halt Jewish immigration

Immigration activist says Jewish Agency should expedite existing requests immediately before Russian government acts after demanding to receive information on Jews requesting to immigrate

Sivan Hilai, Attila Shompalvi, Alexandra Lukash|
Israeli activists said on Monday that the dispute between the Russian government and the Jewish Agency, may halt immigration of Russian Jews to Israel.
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  • Speaking in an interview to Ynet, social activist Alex Rif said Russia is a dictatorship and is not kind to foreign agencies operating within its borders.
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    מארי, רוסיה
    מארי, רוסיה
    Jewish immigrants from Russia arrive in Israel
    (Photo: Ittai Shickman )
    The Jewish Agency said last week that it was considering a halt to its operations in Russia after the Kremlin sent a sternly written letter to the Jewish Agency, demanding that it stop collecting information about Russian citizens.
    The agency in its process of granting immigration papers to Jews requesting to leave Russia for Israel, investigates their claims and background.
    Russia's move was seen in context with its demand that information gathered by the agency be transferred to Russian authorities - which could result in a danger to Jews in that country.
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    נשיא רוסיה ולדימיר פוטין
    נשיא רוסיה ולדימיר פוטין
    Russian President Vladimir Putin
    (Photo: AP)
    Attempts by the agency to reach an understanding with the Russians have so far been unsuccessful and Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano Shate appealed to Prime Minister Yair Lapid to intervene.
    Rif said the Jewish Agency must expedite Russian requests before they are prevented from leaving.
    "I am very concerned because senior Russian officials have not denied the content of the letter," she said. "How long can the Jewish Agency operate like that?" she asked.
    “The Immigration processes must be digitized. It currently take months and involves a great deal of bureaucracy. Should Russia decide to stop Jewish immigration, leaving Jews stuck in Russia, It will be on our conscience,” Rif said
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    פנינה תמנו שטה עם עולים  מברית המועצות
    פנינה תמנו שטה עם עולים  מברית המועצות
    Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata welcoming Jewish immigrants
    (Photo: Olivia Fitussi)
    Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some 15,000 Jews immigrated from Russia. Rif says there are 30,000 who have already begun the immigration process and could arrive quickly.
    "Israel must prepare for a wave of immigrants," she said.
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