What Putin’s Treatment of Jews Reveals About Russia
Last week came news that Russian President Vladimir Putin was threatening to shut down the offices of the Jewish Agency for Israel in Russia. For those unfamiliar with it, the agency is a nonprofit that for nearly a century has been tasked with figuring out the nuts and bolts of Zionism—that is, how to get Jews to a Jewish state. It was banned from the Soviet Union, but began operating in the region in the late 1980s and helped about a million Jews get to Israel through the 1990s. Since this mass exodus, the agency’s role there has been to maintain Jewish communal life for the roughly 150,000 Jews who remained, as well as supporting any who want to emigrate to Israel. This it has done, largely without incident. Putin’s move has to be seen as an act of aggression, intended to make it harder for Jews to leave.
The punitive action is surprising in its suddenness. For years, relations between Israel and Russia were on an upswing, and Israel took a notably neutral stance when the Ukraine invasion began. But the tone has shifted of late. Yair Lapid, who as foreign minister used the phrase war crimes to describe Russia’s behavior, recently became interim prime minister. This has coincided with a flurry of Russian offenses, beginning with the claim that Ukraine’s government, led by a Jewish president, is actually neo-Nazi and including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s musing out loud in May about whether perhaps Hitler “had Jewish blood.” Israel now appears to have finally chosen a side in this conflict.
For his part, Putin is looking to shore up the allies he still has, including Iran, Israel’s No. 1 enemy. After Putin’s first trip there, earlier this month, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, cryptically tweeted: “Recent stances taken by the President of Russia against the Zionists are commendable.”
Natan Sharansky, the most famous Jewish dissident of the late Cold War era and later the chairman of the Jewish Agency, warned this week that Israel “should not be blackmailed” by Russian threats to curtail emigration. I hear ominous echoes: We are in a moment that, depressingly, feels lifted from half a century ago.
Despite Israel’s best efforts to manage a relationship with Russia, they will in the end be on different sides. Russia will lead the EU as the King of the North and Israel, Egypt and her Southern Arab neighbour’s will form the King of the Sount supported by Britain, America and the Commonwealth.
We read of this in Daniel Chapter 11:
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.”
You can read more about this in this article: Alignment of Nations in the Latter Days