Russia has been threatening in recent days to halt the activities of the Jewish Agency in the country. In fact, reports on July 5 said the Russian Justice Ministry has ordered the agency to cease all operations inside the country. The Justice Ministry apparently believes that the Jewish Agency is collecting, saving and transferring information on Russian civilians, which is illegal in the country.
The Jewish Agency is the largest Jewish nonprofit in the world. Among its many activities, it is in charge on behalf of the State of Israel in assisting Jews in the Diaspora who wish to immigrate to Israel. According to estimates, there are more than 165,000 Jews living in Russia, and dozens of thousands more eligible to immigrate to Israel under the Israeli Law of Return. Thus, a Russian order to shut the Agency's activities would be considered by Jerusalem as de facto diplomatic sanctions.