Sharansky: ‘Isolated’ Russia Seeks to Pressure Israel Through Squeeze on Jewish Agency

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An increasingly hostile Russia is searching for ways to pressure its adversaries as the war in Ukraine continues to rage, with the Russian Jewish community representing Israel’s weak spot, the former head of the Jewish Agency said on Wednesday.

Natan Sharansky — the former Soviet Jewish dissident who succeeded in emgrating to Israel in 1986 — told Voice of America’s Russian-language service that President Vladimir Putin’s regime was “almost completely isolated from the free world.”

“Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets” Ez. 38:5

Sharansky: Israel must take 'a clear moral stand' against Putin over Ukraine | The Times of Israel

“They are trying to put pressure on different countries. They are scaring Germany with the fact that people will start dying from the cold in winter,” Sharansky said, referring to the international sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, which supplies Germany with 55 percent of its natural gas.

“In the same way, they are starting to put pressure on us, using the Jewish Agency,” continued Sharansky, who served at the agency’s helm from 2009-18.

At the end of July, the Russian Ministry of Justice announced a legal bid to shutter the local operations of the Jewish Agency, which assists Jews wishing to emigrate to Israel. The ministry claimed that the agency violated Russian law by allegedly maintaining a database of Russian Jews planning to make Aliyah.

A preliminary court hearing in Moscow where the Agency will have an opportunity to present its case is scheduled for Aug. 19.

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