(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today (Wednesday, 23.2.2005) met with the president of the Russian Jewish Congress, Vladimir Sluzker. The director of Netiv, Tzvi Magen, the Prime Minister’s adviser for the Diaspora, Merav Katrielle-Streker, and the adviser to the Netiv director, Dr. Maleh Tabori, participated in the meeting.

Prime Minister Sharon congratulated Sluzker on his election a few months ago. Sluzker noted that the agreement reached with the various religious Jewish communities in Russia on the matter of a joint, coordinated response against anti-Semitic expressions in the country was one of his first steps on taking up his position.

Sluzker added that Diaspora Jews cannot exist without their connection to Israel, and emphasized that Jews in the Diaspora are only able to exist due to the existence of the State of Israel.

Sharon commented that immigration to Israel is of great importance to Israel’s existence, and said that he aims to bring another one million Jews here within 15 years.

The prime minister stated that he is interested in activating a joint program for Jewish youth in Russia with the purpose of sustaining a continuous connection to Israel, and to provide Jewish-Zionist education in Russia.

He added that he is interested in Jewish investment in Israel, as Israel’s new economic policy is turning it into an attractive investment opportunity.

Sharon also noted that he has assumed control of the special court that presides over conversion to Judaism, and that he is personally supervising actions in this area.