Moscow court begins proceedings on ‘dissolution’ of Jewish Agency activities in Russia

An Israeli delegation of jurists is in Moscow for meetings with senior Russian Justice Ministry officials.


A Moscow court on Thursday started proceedings that could result in the “dissolution” of the Jewish Agency’s activities in Russia, even as an Israeli delegation was in the Russian capital in a bid to resolve an issue that has created a major diplomatic spat between the two countries.

The Russian Justice Ministry earlier this month sent a letter to the Jewish Agency outlining a list of demands that created the legal basis for the hearing, Kan News said in a report on Thursday.

It added that the court session was only an initial hearing that would not yield a verdict, but rather determine the parameters for how the case is to proceed.

Jewish Agency attorneys are representing the organization in court, the report said.

According to Interfax, a request to cease the Jewish Agency’s operations was made by the Justice Ministry to the Basmanny District Court, alleging “legal violations.”

“The court received an administrative lawsuit filed by the Moscow branch of the Russian Justice Ministry to shut down and remove from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities the autonomous nonprofit organization Jewish Agency for Israel ‘Sohnut,’ which provides support for relations with the Jewish community,” the court’s spokesperson Yekaterina Buravtsova told Interfax.

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On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced that the Israeli delegation had left following a significant delay caused by Russia’s apparent unwillingness to issue entry visas.

Lapid warned on Sunday that the shuttering of the Jewish Agency’s offices in Russia could have “a serious impact” on diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Moscow.