Saturday, October 3, 2009

Israel denies report of Russian 'espionage' crisis
Senior Israeli officials on Thursday denied reports of a diplomatic spat between Israel and Russia over supposed allegations that an Israeli diplomat had spied on Moscow.

The diplomat, Shmuel Polishuk, was until this week head of the Nativ delegation to Russia. He was asked to leave, and returned to Israel this week, not because of any alleged espionage activities, the officials said, but because of unspecified personal behavior inappropriate for a diplomat.

The Nativ organization, now in its sixth decade, was once part of Israel's intelligence community, operating clandestinely to maintain Israeli contact with the Jewish community trapped behind the Iron Curtain. Since the end of the Cold War, Nativ has transformed into a more transparent, and much smaller, Diaspora outreach and aliya agency in the Prime Minister's Office which focuses on Russian-speaking Jewish communities worldwide.


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