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Israel may advise citizens to avoid parts of Russia – ambassador

Alexander Ben Zvi said the travel advisory would apply to Muslim-majority regions following the Makhachkala airport riot

Israeli authorities may issue a travel advisory recommending that its citizens avoid Russia’s Muslim-majority Caucus regions, the country’s ambassador in Moscow has said. Alexander Ben Zvi made the remarks after an angry mob forced its way onto an airport runway in Dagestan in search of “Israeli refugees” on Sunday.

In an interview with Russian-language international media outlet RTVI on Monday, Ben Zvi said that “apparently, there will be recommendations for Israeli nationals to refrain from visits to Russia’s Muslim republics.” The diplomat added that Israeli authorities would give the green light to such travel if local authorities in those regions “assure us that everything is over, and one can feel safe.” He clarified that, if such an advisory were issued, it would not apply to other parts of Russia.

When asked whether Israel was considering suspending flights to Dagestan, Ben Zvi did not rule out such a move, noting that this would depend on the overall situation in the region.


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FILE PHOTO. Supreme mufti of Russia Talgat Tajuddin, center, Chair of the Central Spiritual Board of Russia's Muslims, attends the Izge Bolgar Zhyeny festival held as part of the 14th International Russia — Islamic World Economic Forum.
Russian Muslim leaders slam anti-Jewish rioters  

The diplomat suggested that the unrest in Makhachkala could not be traced to communications on a single Telegram channel, but rather a multitude of sources spreading “extremist Islamist propaganda.

Ben Zvi confirmed that there were Israeli citizens on board the plane that was targeted by rioters at the airport in Makhachkala, as well as dual Russian-Israeli citizens. None of these were injured, he added.

Addressing top Russian officials on Monday, President Vladimir Putin claimed that the events in Dagestan had been “inspired through social networks, including from the territory of Ukraine, by agents of Western special services.


He also condemned Israel’s tactics of “collective punishment” of civilians in Gaza, blaming the latest escalation in the region on the “ruling elite of the US and its satellites.

Sunday’s unrest saw at least 150 people, some of whom were holding Palestinian flags and shouting “Allahu Akbar,” storm the airport and its runways in search of Israeli nationals arriving in the capital of the Muslim-majority Republic of Dagestan.

Russian authorities claim the violence was instigated by fake news that was spread on what they described as a Ukraine-linked Telegram channel. Telegram has already blocked the channel named “Utro Dagestan” (Dagestan Morning) for inciting hatred.

October 31, 2023 at 02:26PM


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