Israel delegation to head to Moscow amid Jewish emigration-agency dispute
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -An Israeli delegation will travel to Moscow on Wednesday to hold talks with officials, Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office said, amid a dispute over the activities in Russia of an agency that helps Jews move to Israel.
Russia’s justice ministry is seeking the liquidation of the Russian branch of the non-profit Jewish Agency. Authorities have alleged it has breached privacy laws and are expected to present more details in a Russian court on Thursday.
The case has stirred worries in Israel about a crisis with Russia, which is home to a large Jewish community and wields clout in next-door Syria.
“In coordination with the authorities in Russia, the Israeli delegation will leave for Moscow this evening and hold meetings with the relevant parties in the Russian system,” said a statement from Lapid’s office.
Some 600,000 Russians are eligible to emigrate to Israel. Officials have said there has been a rise in applications since the dispute arose over the Jewish Agency, which is based in Jerusalem and is the world’s largest Jewish non-profit organisation.
Lapid has said a closing of its Russia branch would be “grave, with ramifications for (bilateral) relations”.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; editing by John Stonestreet and Bernadette Baum)