Moscow – Unconfirmed Details Emerge About Russian Chief Rabbi’s Secret Mission To Iran
Moscow – Nearly six months after the fact, reports have surfaced about a secret one day diplomatic visit to Iran made last spring by Russia’s chief rabbi.
Arutz Sheva reported that Rabbi Berel Lazar was sent to Iran in April by Russian President Vladimir Putin with whom he reportedly shares a very close relationship.
No official sources have confirmed the report, but a tweet posted on April 8th by Rabbi Shaye Deitsch, director of Moscow’s Shaarei Tzedek Social Center which is under Rabbi Lazar’s auspices, wished Rabbi Lazar well on “an important and secret mission on behalf of the Jewish community,” noting that further details might be made available in the future.
The decision to send Rabbi Lazar on the April 9th mission to improve economic relationships between the two countries reportedly came directly from Putin.
Iranian officials were originally opposed to Rabbi Lazar’s participation, but the Russian government reportedly insisted that he be included in the mission.
YNet reported that Rabbi Lazar’s activities in Iran were limited exclusively to issues pertaining to religious matters. Rabbi Lazar was joined by one aide on the trip and reportedly met with Jewish community leaders in addition to visiting Teheran’s main synagogue and a Jewish school.
The reason for Rabbi Lazar’s inclusion in the delegation remains unclear, with some speculation that it may be related to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s efforts to prevent Iran from establishing a stronghold in Syria.