Conflicting information on expulsion of Israeli diplomat from Russia

Nativ logo

Nativ logo

There is conflicting information about the reasons that led to the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat from Russia. The Russian government said on Thursday that Israeli diplomat Shmuel Polishuk was apprehended by Russian security forces and was asked to leave the country on charges of espionage. But Israeli diplomats claim that Polishuk was not expelled due to espionage activities, but because of “personal behavior inappropriate for a diplomat”, which does not relate to his official work. Other sources said that the Russians agreed not to expel Polishuk on espionage charges after Israel threatened “a counter move”. Interestingly, until his expulsion, Polishuk headed Israel’s Nativ delegation in Russia. Nativ is an Israeli government agency established in 1952, whose official mission is to encourage foreign Jews, mostly from Eastern Europe and Russia, to emigrate to Israel. Historically, Nativ has been a branch of Israeli intelligence, and tends to operate clandestinely out of Israeli agencies. The agency says it ended its clandestine activities following the end of communism in Eastern Europe, and it now operates out of the Office of the Israeli Prime Minister. Critics say it often engages in recruiting informants in foreign countries.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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