A Moscow court on Thursday set an August 19 trial date that could result in the “dissolution” of the Jewish Agency’s activities in Russia, even as an Israeli delegation was in the Russian capital in a bid to resolve an issue that has created a major diplomatic spat between the two countries.

The Russian Justice Ministry earlier this month sent a letter to the Jewish Agency outlining a list of demands that created the legal basis for Thursday’s initial hearing, Kan News said in a report.

In response, Yaakov Hagoel, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, remarked: “The Jewish Agency for Israel plays a critical role in cultivating Jewish identity and establishing a connection to Israel for Jews all over the world. As such, its vital activities that serve the Jewish communities in Russia will continue in order to ensure the community thrives and remains connected to their heritage and the State of Israel.”

According to Interfax, the request to cease the Jewish Agency’s operations was made by the Russian Justice Ministry to the Basmanny District Court, alleging “legal violations.”

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced that the Israeli delegation had left following a significant delay caused by Russia’s apparent unwillingness to issue entry visas.

Lapid warned on Sunday that the shuttering of the Jewish Agency’s offices in Russia could have “a serious impact” on diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Moscow.

JNS

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