It's time Russia should revisit the dastardly murder of the Ilyushin Il-20 crew in Syria, which Israel organized.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid instructed the government to prepare a series of political measures against Russia in the event of the closure of the representative office of the Jewish Agency in the Russian Federation.
Former Israeli ambassador to Moscow Zvi Magen told Israel Hayom publication that the Israeli authorities were considering a number of options to put pressure on the Russian side, including a decision to join Western sanctions against Russia.
"Israel can change its de facto neutral position regarding the war in Ukraine," he said.
According to Israel Hayom, an Israeli delegation is waiting for a visa to Russia to discuss the situation. Diplomats in the delegation realise that this is a political crisis, and the legal cover for it is just an excuse.
The closure of the offices of the Jewish Agency will come as a serious event and will affect interaction with Moscow, Lapid said after a meeting with the government.
Dmitry Maryasis, the head of the Department for the Study of Israel and Jewish Communities at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Pravda.Ru that the Jewish Agency (Sohnut) is an important part of the Israeli civil society. This organization is historically significant for Israel.
Israel is holding snap elections in November, and Lapid can not simply dismiss the problem that has such scandalous overtones. The expert prefers not to see a political background to the case. There are technical and legal issues to it that would soon be resolved in favor of both parties, he believes.
"Today, Israel and Russia, despite all the difficulties, have a positive relationship. I hope that it will come down to just a routine technical matter. Sohnut will eliminate all the claims of the Ministry of Justice and its work in Russia will continue,” said Dmitry Mariasis.
The lawsuit demanding the liquidation of Jewish Agency Sohnut, which provides assistance in repatriation to Israel, was filed by the Department of the Ministry of Justice for Moscow. This is a second-to-none situation that has had no precedent in the world.
The relations between Russia and Israel escalated sharply after Prime Minister Lapid spoke about war crimes of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
"The footage and testimonies coming from Ukraine are appalling. The Russian troops have committed war crimes against the defenseless civilian population. I strongly condemn these war crimes," Lapid said while still foreign minister.
According to News12, Russia's ambassador to Israel, Anatoly Viktorov, said in behind-the-scenes conversations that Lapid's arrival as prime minister would "create difficulties" in relations between Russia and Israel. It is worthy of note here that Naftali Bennett handed over powers to Lapid in early July as a result of the government crisis.
Some sources claim that the Russian authorities are concerned about the purposeful work of the Jewish Agency to stimulate the departure of valuable specialists and scientists from Russia.
Undoubtedly, "brain drain" is never good, but it is not only Israel, where Russian specialists move to. They may move to other countries as well, so repression is not a way out here.
A more objective reason for the expulsion of the Jewish Agency is indeed political.
"We hope that Israel will choose a more impartial and balanced approach to the special operation in Ukraine. This will be in line with the friendly and deeply rooted nature of the Russian-Israeli relations that we have been building together for over 30 years," srugim. co.il quoted Ambassador Viktorov as saying.
As for retaliating "political options", Moscow has them too.
Russia may harm Israel's freedom of action in Syria. Russia may also provide protection to Iran by supplying S-400 systems to the Islamic Republic. In the past, the deal was almost closed, but due to the request of Israel, Russia pulled out from it in 2019.
Israel has never apologized for shooting down Russia's Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft in the skies over Syria in 2018. Israeli pilots then killed a crew of 15.
Moscow did not take revenge in response back then, but everything is different now. When Lapid and US President Joe Biden signed a joint declaration condemning the actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, the time has come for Russia to remind Israel of the murder of the Russian military men.
Kinzhal hypersonic missiles of the Russian forces destroyed the joint Ukraine-NATO command and communications center where foreign officers were also staying