Russia expels Israeli diplomat

Oct. 1, 2009 at 9:08 AM

JERUSALEM, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Russia expelled an Israeli diplomat, accusing him of espionage and compiling intelligence, officials said.

Shmuel Polishuk, 58, who served in the Israeli Embassy in Moscow, is the first secretary of the group Nativ, a liaison group that encourages Jews in Russia and other Eastern European countries to immigrate to Israel, Maariv reported Thursday.

Polishuk returned to Israel Tuesday, the newspaper said.

Polishuk was detained last week by Russian intelligence officials and questioned, but later set free after it became apparent he had diplomatic immunity, the newspaper said.

Russian officials told Polishuk he had five days to leave the country, the paper said.

Israeli government officials tried to prevent the expulsion and in the end reached an agreement whereby Polishuk would "return to Israel," but would not be declared a "persona non grata" by Russia, the paper said.

Sources told the paper Russian officials had increased surveillance on Israelis who work for the group.

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