About this in an interview with The Guardian said the former chief rabbi of Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt, who left Russia due to pressure from the authorities.
“If you look at Russian history, you can see that every time the country’s political system was in danger, the government tried to redirect the anger and discontent of the masses to the Jewish community. This happened both during the tsarist times and at the end of the Stalinist regime,” the rabbi said.
According to Goldschmidt, the level of anti-Semitism is increasing in Russia, and the country itself is turning into a “new type of Soviet Union” in which “the iron curtain is gradually falling.”
“That is why I believe that the best option for Russian Jews is to leave,” he summarized.
Goldschmidt held the post of chief rabbi of Moscow
Goldschmidt left Russia in May, citing his father’s illness. Despite this, in June he was re-elected as the main Jew of the capital for another seven years. Later, the rabbi’s daughter-in-law Avital Chizyk-Goldschmidt said that the departure was connected with the demand of the authorities to support the invasion of Ukraine.
“Finally, I can report that my father-in-law and mother-in-law, the chief rabbi of Moscow, Rabbi Pinchas, and their child, Dara Goldschmidt, were pressured by the authorities, they were asked to support a “special operation” in Ukraine, and they refused”, she wrote.
Goldschmidt has held the post of chief rabbi of Moscow since 1993. After his re-election in early June, articles appeared in several European media explaining the real reasons for his departure.
According to YNetNews, he does not return to the aggressor country, fearing persecution for helping Ukrainian refugees.
In comments to The Times, Goldschmidt said he could not publicly condemn the invasion because he was responsible for the survival of Russia’s 500,000-strong Jewish community.
Liquidation of the Jewish Agency “Sohnut”
In July, the Department of the Ministry of Justice in Moscow filed a lawsuit demanding the liquidation of the Jewish Agency “Sohnut”. The court specified that, according to the agency, “Sohnut” violated Russian legislation.
One of the goals of the Jewish Agency is to facilitate the repatriation of Jewish communities around the world. A possible shutdown of Sokhnut’s operations in Russia could undermine the ability of Russian Jews to repatriate to Israel – they are currently unable to do so due to sanctions against Russian airlines.
In May, the scandal between the two states was provoked by the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov. Responding to a question about what denazification can be said if the president of Ukraine is a Jew, Lavrov said:
“I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood. It means absolutely nothing. Wise Jewish people say that the most virulent anti-Semites are usually Jews. “There is always a freak in the family”, as they say in our country.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called Lavrov’s statement “unforgivable and outrageous” and considered it a “terrible historical mistake.”
“Jews did not kill themselves during the Holocaust. A moderate level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of anti-Semitism”, he wrote on Twitter.