The Israeli government’s initiative allows people to report anti-Semitic threats and abuse
People from Russia and other former Soviet republics can now report cases of anti-Semitism via a special hotline set up by the Israeli government, the Ynet media outlet has reported. The initiative comes less than a month after anti-Jewish riots in Russia’s Dagestan Region.
The unrest in the city of Makhachkala broke out after the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict in October, and involved protesters storming a local airport in search of arrivals from Tel Aviv. Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently alleged the tensions had been instigated by Ukrainian and Western intelligence agencies.
Ynet reported on Wednesday that a hotline has been launched by the ‘Native’ bureau in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, which is responsible for communicating with Jewish communities in former Soviet republics. According to the Israeli media outlet, people can report anti-Semitic threats, bating, and propaganda via Telegram and WhatsApp messengers.
The article quoted Israeli officials as saying they had not observed any tangible spike in anti-Semitism in ex-Soviet republics, noting that the focus was so far mainly on social media. The Israeli government is concerned that the spread of such narratives online could potentially lead to a repeat of the events in Makhachkala, Ynet explained.
According to Russian authorities, over 200 rioters have been detained since last month’s violence.
The rioting unfolded at Makhachkala Airport, where a mob forced its way into the terminal before pouring onto the runway in an attempt to ‘inspect’ an incoming plane from Tel Aviv. The crowd was acting on rumors circulating on social media and messaging apps, according to which, “Israeli refugees” fleeing from the conflict with Palestine were due to arrive in the Dagestani capital.
Hundreds of people blocked the runway for several hours, questioning random people in a bid to determine whether or not they were Israelis.
Following heavy clashes, the authorities managed to disperse the rioters, with more than 20 people sustaining injuries, including several police officers.
Commenting on the unrest, Putin claimed that the “events in Makhachkala were inspired through social networks, including from the territory of Ukraine, by agents of Western special services.”
Other Russian officials previously pointed to the ‘Utro Dagestan’ (Dagestan Morning) Telegram channel, which they believed was linked to the Ukrainian intelligence service. Telegram has since blocked the channel for inciting violence.
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