Putin tells Russian Jews he expects ‘hefty contribution’ in New Year’s message

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours an exhibition at Novgorod Technical School in Veliky Novgorod on September 21, 2022. (Photo by Gavriil GRIGOROV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Statement encouraging Jewish community to integrate comes after tens of thousands rushed for exit in wake of war with Ukraine, with more expected to follow as reservists called up

In a Rosh Hashanah welcome overshadowed by tensions between the Kremlin and the country’s Jewish community in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Russian Jews to “heftily contribute” to the nation’s multiethnic identity.

Since the attack started in February, tens of thousands of Jews have fled Russia; thousands more are anticipated to do the same as Moscow plans to partially call up reserve personnel to aid in the war effort.

In the letter, Putin stressed that while it was crucial for Russian Jews to uphold their traditions, they also had a responsibility to support Russia.

“It is very important that while retaining their loyalty to old spiritual traditions, Russia’s Jews make a hefty contribution to the preservation of cultural diversity in our country, to strengthening interethnic concord and the principles of mutual respect and religious tolerance,” he said.

Approximately three times as many Jews as there are presently in Russia are eligible for Israeli citizenship since they have at least one Jewish grandparent.


Following Putin’s decision to deploy an additional 300,000 troops, which provoked nationwide protests, Israeli government officials called an emergency conference last week to prepare for an anticipated rise in immigration from Russia.

The frequency of flights between Moscow and Tel Aviv will reportedly increase, and authorities are apparently looking for ways to make it easier to transfer money out of Russia.

According to officials, this year has seen the immigration of close to 40,000 Ukrainians, Russians, and Belarusians to Israel. With 23,789 officially registered immigrations, Russia was the source of half of the new immigrants in 2022. 13,097 Ukrainians and 1,316 Belarusians followed with their acquisition of Israeli citizenship.

People gather outside the Basmany district court in Moscow ahead of a hearing in the Russian government’s case against the Jewish Agency on July 28, 2022. (Screen capture: TASS)


The Russian Justice Ministry petitioned a Moscow court in July to close the offices of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the semi-governmental organization that promotes and facilitates Jewish immigration to Israel, as a symbol of the Kremlin’s desire to tighten the screws on Jewish immigration.

Despite the trial’s official opening in July, which has now lasted two months, all of the sessions have resulted in postponements. On October 19, the Moscow court will resume hearing the case.

One of the most noteworthy individuals to have left Russia is former head rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt, who, after initially resisting pressure to support the invasion and later openly opposing it, left for Israel with his wife two weeks after the war started.

Numerous Russian rabbis congregated in Moscow earlier this month to talk about the issues affecting their congregations and themselves, as well as to subtly criticize Goldschmidt.

The rabbis published a declaration urging “for peace and the stop of the carnage,” though they did not specifically address the conflict in Ukraine.

Relationships with Jews have been strained as a result of the Kremlin’s attempts to defend the war by claiming that it was necessary to purge Ukraine of Nazis, including its Jewish ruler.


Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, made the controversial claims that many Jews were anti-Semites and that Adolf Hitler was partially Jewish in May. This sparked outrage from Jewish organizations in Israel and the Diaspora.

Other world leaders also conveyed their best wishes for the New Year to local Jewish communities as the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, begins at sunset on Sunday.


In his address, US President Joe Biden suggested that the season of “reflection, repentance, and regeneration” might also be applicable to all of America.


“We need to look to each other as well as inside in the upcoming year. Through compassion and deeds of kindness, we must rebuild our communities and close the gap between the present and the idealized future, he stated.


The COVID-19 pandemic is winding down, and Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged the Jewish community’s contributions to society and welcomed the return of in-person gatherings.


“Your spirit of unity and community will continue to be a light to Australia as we face a year filled with new opportunities and challenges,” Albanese wrote.


On the night of the holiday, newly elected UK Prime Minister Liz Truss made a video speech in which she pledged to “promote our Jewish community” in the upcoming year.


“I am determined to stamp out antisemitism. I will be a staunch friend of Israel, and I will always be on your side,” she said.


President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan praised the “peace and tranquillity” that had been enjoyed by the people of his country for millennia and thanked the Jewish community for being a “integral part of our society.”




YOUTUBE VIDEO: Former Moscow rabbi wants all Jews to leave Putin’s Russia | Conflict Zone

By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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