A number of Russian Jewish organizations received threatening letters from the Russian Justice Ministry similar in nature to the ones received by the Jewish Agency accusing them of violating Russian law, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
According to the report, the targeted organizations, who are now categorized as “foreign agents” according to Russia’s new definition of the term as any organization that receives foreign funding, are trying to maintain a low profile and carry out only its most essential tasks.
Smaller local Jewish organizations that do not receive foreign funding have not received any letters.
Russian-Jewish sources told the Post that the Jewish Agency has been under Moscow’s close surveillance for many years.
“I remember participating in an aliyah conference of the agency in Russia about 7 years ago and it was closed down by The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB RF),” one source said. “The FSB RF agents actually accompanied the Israeli participants of the conference to Israel on their flight.”
According to a Ynet report on Monday, Israeli diplomatic officials say that the Jewish Agency has been receiving hints that Moscow may close the organization for over a year but didn’t report the issue to Foreign Ministry officials.
This information was confirmed by a previous Jerusalem Post report, with a diplomatic source telling the outlet that the Jewish Agency has been mishandling the crisis.
“This is scandalous conduct by the agency,” one source said. “They haven’t updated the Foreign Ministry on this crisis, even though they’ve been integrated for the past few years. All that diplomatic officials heard about the issue with Russia’s Justice Ministry came from the Post instead of receiving updates from the agency.”
“Why wouldn’t the agency update the relevant government offices about the raids?” the source asked. “If they would have had meetings on the matter before the Russian-Ukrainian war, there might have been something to do.”
An Israeli delegation that was scheduled to fly to Russia on Sunday to address the issues was canceled after Moscow failed to issue visas to the delegation members or arrange meetings with Russian legal authorities
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)