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Lapid orders range of responses prepared for possible use against Russia if it shutters Jewish Agency

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid holds  a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on July 24, 2022. (RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid holds a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on July 24, 2022. (RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid has ordered the Foreign Ministry to prepare a range of reactions to weigh for possible use if Russia indeed shuts down the Jewish Agency, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

The decision came following a meeting Lapid held earlier today.

The potential responses include delaying handing back Alexander’s Courtyard to Russia, providing more assistance for Ukraine, and calling home the Israeli ambassador in Moscow for consultations, Channel 12 news and Channel 13 news report, citing sources involved in the meeting.

According to Channel 12, Israeli leaders aren’t certain as to why Russia has threatened to shut down the agency, with a crucial court hearing set for Thursday, but Moscow may be unhappy with the delays so far to transfer Alexander’s Courtyard and/or angered by Israeli comments, especially Lapid’s, decrying the invasion of Ukraine. Alternatively, it may be exacting a price for Israeli strikes in Syria, whose airspace is largely controlled by Russia.

Channel 13 says the Israeli delegation to Moscow to attempt to solve the matter will not fly today as planned, but at a later date to be determined. Channel 12 says Moscow has not yet given its agreement for the delegation to visit.

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