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As tensions escalate, Lapid says Israel always ready for dialogue with Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, welcomes Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, prior to their talks in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 9, 2021. (Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, welcomes Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, prior to their talks in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 9, 2021. (Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid says that ties between Russia and Israel “are based on heritage” and that Jerusalem is always ready for dialogue with Israel.

He is speaking amid an ongoing spat between Israel and Russia over the actions of the Jewish Agency, the quasi-governmental agency responsible for immigration to Israel, which Moscow is moving toward shutting down.

“Israel-Russia relations are based on heritage, continuous connection and mutual interests,” Lapid says in a statement. “The Jewish community [in Russia] is central to these relations.”

Lapid says that if “legal issues arise in relation to the important activity of the Jewish Agency in Russia, Israel, as always, is ready and willing to engage in dialogue about it while maintaining the important relations between the countries.”

Lapid’s office says his comments come specifically in response to remarks earlier today by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“The situation should not be politicized or projected onto the entirety of Russian-Israeli relations,” Peskov told reporters. “There are issues from the point of view of complying with Russian law,” he added. “This situation should be treated very carefully.”

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