Russia will permit the chief rabbi of Moscow, Pinhas Goldschmidt, to re-enter the country thus lifting a three-month ban.
"With the help of others, I will be able to reunite with members of my family and the community this week and to continue my rabbinical work as I have in the past," Goldschmidt told Haaretz. Over the course of the rabbi's three-month exile, Jewish and international non-government organizations as well as Western diplomats have repeatedly requested Russian authorities enable the rabbi to return to Moscow.
Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, the chief rabbi of France and the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, praised Russia's reversal, adding that he was grateful to all the diplomats and Jewish organizations for their efforts in enabling Goldschmidt's return to Moscow.
Goldschmidt, 42, has served as Moscow's chief rabbi since 1987. This past September, after landing in Moscow's airport, border authorities informed Goldschmidt that his visa was cancelled. Haaretz reported that the move to deny entry was linked to a running feud between Goldschmidt and Vladimir Slutsker, former chief of the Russian Jewish Congress.
Slutsker was unseated last month by millionaire industrialist Vyacheslav Kantor. Goldschmidt was also deported from the country in 2001. However, his supporters succeeded in having the authorities overturn the decision.
Funny how this great 'humanitarian' decision by Putin and his thugs was made public exactly one day after the announcement of Russia's $1 billion dollar arms deal with Iran. And, let us not forget that during this entire three-month ordeal, Chabad's "chief rabbi" of Russia and Putin lap dog Berel Lazar said nothing about Rabbi Goldschmidt's deportation.
Rabbi Goldschmidt's return is a morsel thrown to human rights activists in the West alarmed by Russia's new Stalinism. As always, Chabad is on the wrong side of this issue, supporting Putin and his anti-democracy thugs and his arms deals with rogue states like Iran. When American and British (and Israeli) soldiers die defending the West from Iran's nuclear threat and its state-sponsored terrorism, will our citizens remember Chabad with fondness? Perhaps not. Will they distinguish between Chabad and the rest of Jewry? If history is our guide, probably not. Berel Lazar sews what we will reap, and that harvest promises to be especially bitter.