Jewish Agency scraps plans to hold board meetings in Russia

 The Jewish Agency just announced that it has scrapped plans to hold its upcoming Board of Governors meetings in St. Petersburg, Russia. Instead they will be held in Jerusalem.

Here is the press release:

The Jewish Agency Board of Governors meetings to be held in Jerusalem and not St. Petersburg as originally planned 

The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, announced this evening (Wednesday afternoon, Feb 3) that the Board of Governors meetings planned to be held at the end of the month in St. Petersburg, Russia, will be relocated to Jerusalem.  

The Jewish Agency started the preparations for the meetings three months ago and coordinated with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and with the office of the Governor of St. Petersburg. Two weeks ago the Russian authorities advised for the first time about some outstanding issues regarding the legal status of the Jewish Agency in Russia.

The Jewish Agency immediately submitted all the required documentation and have since been waiting for an official response. In the interim the Jewish Agency received numerous unofficial messages but no clear answer.  Today a message was received via the office of the Israeli Ambassador in Moscow that the Russian Foreign Ministry still maintains that the legal status of the Jewish Agency in Russia is not adequate for convening a meeting of the Board of Governors.  

Following these developments and due to the short amount of time left before the meetings, the Jewish Agency decided, to relocate the Board meetings to Jerusalem. According to Mr. Sharansky, the Jewish Agency acted and will continue to act in understanding and cooperation with the Russian authorities.  At the initiative of the Natan Sharansky, the Chairman of the Executive, the Jewish Agency Board of Governors planned to convene in St. Petersburg at the end of February for three days. Sharansky’s initiative was meant to strengthen the connection between the Jewish communities in the Former Soviet Union and the Jewish Agency and Israel. The schedule in St. Petersburg included meetings with the members of the Board of Governors and the leaders of the local Jewish communities, visits to centers of activity of the Jewish Agency in St. Petersburg and meetings with Russian Government representatives.  

The Chairman of the Executive, Natan Sharansky, and the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Richie Pearlstone, instructed to relocate the meetings to Jerusalem at the planned time from February 21st through February 23rd. The Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency meets three times a year in Jerusalem and Sharansky intends to convene it once a year outside of Israel, in cities with Jewish Agency programs and activities.  

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