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Jewish Agency says it won’t be exiting Russia ‘if we can help it’

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

A sign outside the entrance of a Jewish Agency for Israel office in Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2022. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A sign outside the entrance of a Jewish Agency for Israel office in Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2022. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Jewish Agency has begun making practical preparations for the possibility that Moscow will go through with its threats and order the quasi-governmental group to halt its activities in the country, says an official in the organization.

However, the official denies a report in the Jerusalem Post that the Jewish Agency believes it will certainly be forced to close. Next Friday, a Moscow court is scheduled to hear the Russian government’s case against the organization. The Russian Justice Ministry has called for the Jewish Agency’s activities to be halted in the country, accusing the organization of illegally collecting information on Russian citizens.

“We’re examining all the options for a rainy day,” the Jewish Agency official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. But the official says the agency does not anticipating being shut down imminently.

“The trial could go both ways: shutdown, or staying under tightened regulation,” he says. “But we’re certainly not going to leave if we can help it.”

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