ATTEMPT TO DEPORT CHIEF RABBI OF SOCHI FROM RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Interfax.ru, 6 February 2017
Deportation threatens the chief rabbi of Sochi, Ari Edelkopf.
As he reported on his page in a social network, the basis is subpoint 1 of point 1 of article 7 of the law "On the legal status of foreign citizens in Russia" (advocacy for violent change in the foundations of the constitutional structure of Russia or creation by other actions of threats to the security of the RF or its citizens).
"That is, by our actions we are creating a threat to the security of the Russian federation. This is a difficult trial from above. But I trust the Almighty and I am sure that, with God's help, everything will be fine," the rabbi wrote.
He did not explain what he is specifically charged with and what it is for.
In his turn, the head of the Department of Public Relation of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia [FEOR], Borukh Gorin, commenting on the situation, declared that in his 16 years of residence in Sochi, Edelkopf has been interested in only one thing—to make it possible for Sochi Jews "to live a full-fledged Jewish life," and when the Olympiad was held in Sochi in 2014 "hundreds of Jews—athletes and tourists—were able to pray and get kosher food thanks to the Jewish community."
"The accusation of Rabbi Edelkopf, like the recent accusation of the rabbi of the Moscow congregation of Among One's Own, Joseph Khersonsky, of violation of migration legislation obviously has one common basis—the desire of overly zealous officials to get new 'stars' for displaying vigor in removing alleged 'violations of law' taking place," Gorin noted, who was quoted by the press service of FEOR on Monday.
After emphasizing that such decisions "disorient the Jewish community and evoke serious concern for the future of Jewish congregations in the country," he expressed the hope that, just as in the case of Khersonsky, "this misunderstanding will be cleared up."
In turn, members of the Sochi Jewish community consider the deportation of Edelkopf and his family from Russia to be illegal.
"Members of the Jewish community . . . of the city of Sochi ask President Putin to render personal assistance and annul the decision of the police of Kuban cancelling the permission for temporary residence, given earlier to the rabbi and his family and also to provide the possibility for Edelkopf to continue his work," the chairman of the Sochi Jewish congregation, David Kosnevich told the Interfax news agency on Monday.
In 2003, a rabbi from Rostov-on-Don, Eliashiv Kaplun, and Rabbi Chaim Friedman, were deported from Russia. In 2009, the rabbi of the Primore territory, Isroel Zilbershtein, and rabbi of Stavropol territory, Tsvi Khershkvich; and in 2013, the rector of the International Jewish Institute of Economics, Finance, and Law, Rabbi Alexander Feigin; and in 2014, Rabbi of Tula, Zeev Wagner; and an attempt was made to deport Omsk Rabbi Osher Krichevsky. On 27 January 2017, the rabbi of the Moscow Among One's Own congregation, J. Khersonsky, was arrested on a charge of violating the migration legislation. However a trial conducted on 30 January removed all accusations from him. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 February 2017)
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