Status: 07/28/2022 01:27
One of the oldest Jewish organizations in Russia, the “Jewish Agency”, could be banned at the request of the Ministry of Justice. There is a lot of speculation on the bottom.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned in a statement regarding a possible ban on the Jewish immigration organization “Jewish Agency” that the matter should be handled with caution. There is no need to politicize the situation and “project it onto the whole complex of Russian-Israeli relations”.
After a month-long review, the Russian Justice Ministry asked a Moscow court to liquidate the Jewish Agency. The organization, also known as Sochnut, has been helping Jews from Russia immigrate to Israel since 1929. Last year, 21,000 Russian Jews reportedly turned to the nonprofit.
Reason for applying: unclear
However, it is not known why the Russian Ministry of Justice demanded a ban on “Sochnut”. According to the competent court, the Jewish emigration organization violated Russian law. Against which paragraph exactly, however, has not been made public. According to media reports, the Russian Justice Ministry accuses the Jewish organization of violating data protection rules and collecting personal data on Jews from Russia who want to leave the country.
A source close to the Israeli authorities reportedly gave the Israeli newspaper “Details” another possible reason: the venerable Jewish organization is “common ground” for the Kremlin.
Moscow is unhappy with Israel’s recent positioning, at least rhetorically, on the side of Ukraine. Russia is also trying to warn Israel to comply with US President Joe Biden’s possible demands and deliver missiles to Ukraine. So far, however, Israel has reportedly only sent helmets, protective vests and other equipment for civilian rescue workers in Ukraine.
“Tension on bilateral relations”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova gave similar hints to YouTube channel Solovyov Live this week. “We have heard one-sided rhetoric from Tel Aviv over the past few months,” she warned. If Russia now hears comments from the Israeli side that this action by Russia could strain relations between the two countries, “I would like to ask if the same people do not think that their actions and statements over the past few months have already affected bilateral relations?
Another possible reason cited in the Russian media was Russia’s attempt to stop the “brain drain” – that is, the emigration of highly skilled Russians. According to Israel’s Absorption Ministry, nearly 17,000 Russian Jews have emigrated to Israel since the start of the war in Ukraine. That’s twice as much as last year. However, the number of unreported cases would be much higher, since most Jews do not officially emigrate from Russia, but reside permanently in Israel.
Israeli delegation in Moscow
However, when asked about this possibility, Kremlin spokesman Peskov contradicted it. “No, it has nothing to do with the ‘brain drain’.” This is related to compliance with Russian legislation. For more details, however, it is advisable to contact the Ministry of Justice, which “made this decision”.
One can only speculate on the exact context of the possible ban. An Israeli delegation is said to have traveled to Moscow for the trial scheduled for today. However, if something moves behind the scenes, it is not excluded that the court postpones its decision.