MOSCOW (JNS) – Russia has ordered the Jewish Agency to modify its operations inside the country, in a move that could hamper the organization’s ability to function, according to Israeli media reports.
The move comes amid tensions centered on Israel’s position on the war in Ukraine, which Russian forces invaded in February, and ongoing Israeli strikes against Iranian assets in Syria–where Moscow remains the dominant military player.
The Jewish Agency’s primary function is to promote and facilitate Jewish immigration to Israel and, as such, the reports said Russia’s decision could significantly curtail the capacity of Jews to make aliyah.
“People from the Jewish community have been feeling the Iron Curtain setting on them and they fear they won’t be able to escape the country,” one report quoted senior sources in Russia’s Jewish community as saying.
“A number of Jews have said that the Russian authorities are trying to arrest them and that they fear for their lives,” an unnamed person reportedly said.
Russia’s Justice Ministry issued the directive in a letter sent last week to the Jewish Agency, whose representatives, in coordination with Israeli officials, are in the process of formulating a response.