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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel Warns of Islamic Interests in CIS

The West is not doing enough to prevent ex-Soviet Central Asian republics from falling under the "negative" influence of Iran and Turkey, Israel's ambassador said Monday.

"Iran and Turkey are interested in mobilizing the Moslem countries", Haim Barlev told reporters. "Competition is going on and the West isn't active enough to prevent this domination.

"These countries need assistance. If it doesn't come from a positive force it may come from a negative force', ' he added. "The situation is not yet stable".

Barlev criticized Russia for not paying enough attention to Central Asia.

Israeli concern over the region is so high that Tel Aviv began organizing airlifts of Jews out of Central Asia to Israel last summer. The airlifts are continuing, said Alexander Lebin, second secretary of the Israeli Embassy.

"Whenever we find Jewish communities or individuals who decide to move to Israel we assist them", Barlev said.

Barlev was critical of Russian arms sales to Arab countries, although he praised Russia's participation in the Arab-Israeli peace talks.

"Russia plays a very constructive role in the peace talks", Barlev said. "It's a dramatic change from the Soviet Union, which had good relations with the Arab world and no relations with us".