Russian Justice Ministry asks for local branch of Jewish Agency to be dissolved

Move comes after stern letter sent to agency in Moscow, demanding information about Jews requesting to immigrate to Israel; national security advisor dispatched to Russia in attempt to resolve dispute
Reuters, Itamar Eichner|
Russia's Ministry of Justice has requested the liquidation of the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Russian media reported on Thursday.
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  • The government dispatched a diplomatic delegation to Moscow, headed by National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata and representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the Jewish Agency, to try and resolve the matter.
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    ישיבת ממשלה
    ישיבת ממשלה
    Vladimir Putin, Yair Lapid
    (Photo: AP, Marc Israel Salerm)
    The agency said in response that their mission is Russia was being adjudicated in the courts and are awaiting a decision later this month. their officials refused to comment further.
    "Russian Jews will not be held hostage by the war in Ukraine. The attempt to punish the Jewish Agency for Israel's stance on the war is deplorable and offensive," Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai said in response to news of the court filing.
    The Jewish Agency is the largest Jewish non-profit organization in the world, and helps Jews emigrate to Israel. It has been active in Russia for years and its main goal was to encourage Jews to immigrate.
    Interfax reported that the court case, filed with Moscow's Basmanny District Court, is connected to unspecified violations of Russian law.
    The Jewish Agency said earlier this month, that it was considering a halt to its operations in Russia after the Kremlin sent a sternly written letter, demanding that it stop collecting information about Russian citizens.
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    Jewish immigrants from Russia arrive in Israel
    Jewish immigrants from Russia arrive in Israel
    Jewish immigrants from Russia arrive in Israel
    (Photo: Ynet)
    The agency in its process of granting immigration papers to Jews requesting to leave Russia for Israel, investigates their claims and background.
    Around 7,000 Jews emigrated from Russia to Israel last year, according to Israeli government data.
    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.
    Social activists in Israel, had urged the agency to expedite immigration requests fearing the Russians will block Jews from immigrating.
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