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Israeli regime agency told to quit operations in Russia as ties hit new low

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The offices of the “Jewish Agency” in the holy occupied city of al-Quds (file photo)

Russia's justice ministry has asked an Israeli agency affiliated with the regime to wind down its operations in the country, marking a new low in their bilateral ties that have dramatically soared in recent years. 

The Jerusalem Post reported the development on Tuesday, saying the so-called “Jewish Agency,” which is closely tied to the Israeli regime, has been asked to leave the country by Russian authorities. 

“The order was given in a letter received from the Russian Justice Ministry earlier this week. Officials in the Jewish Agency confirmed that the letter was received,” the report said.

The agency, it added, was trying to coordinate a response in consultation with the Israeli regime’s foreign ministry and the prime minister's office.

‘Dramatic order’

The Israeli newspaper described the order handed to the agency as “dramatic.”

It cited a “senior official” as saying that they did not understand the reasoning behind the move.

“Russia is saying the Jewish Agency illegally collected info about Russian citizens...We will bring up the Jewish Agency [with Russian authorities] and address it in an organized way. It will be taken care of at the embassy level," the official said.

The daily also said that cessation of the agency’s operations in Russia would mean that Jews would no longer be able to “escape” the country and make their way to the occupied territories.

Relations between Russia and the Israeli regime have dramatically soared since 2018. But, after the Kremlin launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, the ties have turned from bad to worse.

Their relations were hit with what observers rate as a major crisis in September 2018, when a Russian Il-20 military plane was mistakenly shot down while it was preparing to land in Russia's Khmeimim airbase in Latakia Province in northwestern Syria.

The Syrian S-200 missile defense system was responding to a wave of strikes by four Israeli warplanes.

Moscow blamed Tel Aviv for the incident, which killed all15 people on board the plane, saying the Israeli warplanes had deliberately “created a dangerous situation” that led to the crash.

The Russian military also said the ill-fated plane was used as a cover by the Israeli air force, and that Moscow reserved the right to give a due response.

Tensions flared again between the two sides over the Israeli regime’s airstrikes in Syria last month after the regime targeted the Damascus International Airport.

Russia subsequently summoned the Israeli regime ambassador in Moscow, expressing “serious concern” over the strikes that targeted the civilian facility.

In May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins, triggering strong reactions from Tel Aviv.

The Israeli foreign ministry said Lavrov's comments were “ghastly,” and announced that it had summoned Russian Ambassador to Tel Aviv Anatoly Viktorov for “a tough talk” over the statements.

The Russia-Israel ties have also suffered due to Tel Aviv’s siding with the West over Ukraine, where Russia has been engaged in a special military operation since February, as well as the occupying regime’s agreement with the European Union to supply natural gas as an alternative to Russian energy imports.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.


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