The Russian government has ordered the Jewish Agency to halt its operations in Federation, the Jerusalem Post revealed on Tuesday, in what many believe is a response to Tel Aviv's position on Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian Justice Ministry issued a letter including this order earlier this week, and officials in the Jewish Agency confirmed they had received it.
"As part of the work of the Jewish Agency's delegation in Russia, we are occasionally required to make certain adjustments, as required by authorities," the agency said in a reply to a query from the Israeli newspaper.
"The contacts with the authorities take place continuously, with the aim of continuing our activities in accordance with the rules set by the competent bodies," the agency added. "Even nowadays, such a dialogue takes place."
The Jerusalem Post reported a senior Israeli diplomat saying: "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 organised way."
In response, Israel's Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Pnina Tamano-Shata, said: "The Jewish Agency is a central arm of the government and the Immigrant Absorption Ministry for the assistance of the immigration of Jews from all over the world to the State of Israel."
According to the Jerusalem Post, she added: "We must ensure that their scope of operation is maintained as it has been throughout the years. I appealed to the prime minister to work with the Moscow administration to resolve the problem."
The minister continued: "I want to strengthen the Jewish community in Russia, which must be worried at this time about the consequences of the decision. Aliyah is a basic right for the Jews of Russia, and we will make sure that it is preserved as such."