Israeli delegation to travel to Moscow amid Jewish emigration agency dispute

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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.

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“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 organization.

Lapid has said a closing of its Russia branch would be “grave, with ramifications for (bilateral) relations.”

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