Israel Wrestles with Fate of Russian-Israeli Oligarchs

    Image copyright: Haaretz

    The Facts

    • Israel is facing questions about the fate of Jewish-Russian tycoons in light of Russia's continuing invasion of Ukraine and the biting sanctions imposed by the West in response.

    • Several Jewish business leaders from Russia are believed to have acquired Israeli citizenship in recent years, including oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin, such as Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Israel risks becoming known as the last safe haven for Russia's "dirty money." The International Community is rightly placing pressure on Putin by squeezing the assets of his closest allies and Israel should do the same.

    Narrative B

    Israel was founded as a haven for Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust. It continues to serve as a place of refuge and grants citizenship to anyone of Jewish descent, including large numbers of Russians. The Ukraine Crisis has placed a considerable strain on these otherwise laudable policies.

    Narrative C

    Kremlin-aligned kleptocrats have siphoned billions off of the Russian economy for decades, most of which is now held offshore. Liberal democratic countries have the power to hurt them--and Putin--but it will require owning up to and facing our own forms of endemic corruption.

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