Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sunday with a delegation of representatives of the Russian Jewish Community, headed by the chief rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar and Mr. Lev Leviev, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC).
The Prime Minister addressed the current security situation: “The struggle here is not about any type of political border, as some of our naïve friends say, as well as our enemies. That is indeed not the case. It’s not about territory, not about the settlements, not about the borders and not even about their struggle for a state – the struggle here is about the denial of the state of Israel. It is about the denial of any Jewish sovereignty over any part of the land of Israel, pure and simple. This is what the struggle is all about and nothing more.”
The delegation has asked to deliver, through the Prime Minister, a message of solidarity with the people of Israel, contending with this flare-up of terrorism. “The delegation arrives during these troubled times, in order to show the world that now is the time to come and visit the country,” said Mr. Leviev during the meeting.
Rabbi Lazar added that “we have come in these dire times to strengthen the people of the holy land. All of Russia’s Jewry is praying for you. We are here to tell you that we are standing by you in these hard times”. During the last few days the delegation visited Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem, The Cave of Machpela near the city of Hebron and the western wall, where the delegates visited the famous “Western Wall tunnels.” As part of their tour, the delegates met with the soldiers stationed at those sites working to restore order. In the course of their visit, the delegates witnessed riots in the area.
The delegation consists of fifty rabbis, leaders and head of communities, as well as business people from all over Russia, including the cities of: Rostov, Kaliningrad, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Smolensk, Samara, Tomsk, Saratov, Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Sochi, San-Petersburg, Ufa, Moscow, Novorossiysk, Veliky Novgorod. The communities span the Western Russian border with Finland, all the way to the eastern border with Japan.
At the Prime Minister’s office, members of the delegation were warmly received by Mr. Netanyahu. “Lev Leviev, President of the FJC, your work in strengthening the Jewish identity, our heritage, the affiliation towards and Israel and Jewish education is highly important. I would also like to thank Michael Mirilashvili, who has joined these efforts and all the members of the delegation headed by Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar.”