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Russian state media: Moscow moves to ‘dissolve’ Jewish Agency operations

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

File: A view of the Kremlin with Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, June 20, 2020 (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
File: A view of the Kremlin with Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, June 20, 2020 (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Russian Justice Ministry has officially called for the Jewish Agency’s operations in the country to be “dissolved,” filing an appeal to that effect with the district court in Moscow, according to state media.

“The court received a lawsuit filed by the main department of the Ministry of Justice in Moscow on the dissolution of the… Jewish Agency,” the court says in a statement that was carried by the Russian outlet RIA.

This represents a significant step forward in Russia’s campaign against the Israeli quasi-governmental organization, which facilitates and encourages Jewish immigration to Israel.

The first hearing of this lawsuit is scheduled to be held on July 28.

Late last month, Russian authorities informed the Jewish Agency in a letter that they planned to take legal action against the group. The Jewish Agency initially sought to address this matter quietly and alone, but has since called in the Israeli Foreign Ministry to intervene on its behalf.

The Jewish Agency maintains that in the meantime it is working as normal in Russia.

The aggressive posturing by the Russian government is seen as highly unusual, coming in apparent retaliation for Israel’s stance on Moscow’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine and for Israel’s ongoing campaign against Iran in Syria, which Russia at times opposes.

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