JERUSALEM, JULY 26 -- The Bolshoi Ballet and the Red Army Chorus, two of the Soviet Union's best-known artistic groups, have scheduled performances in Israel in an agreement that marks a significant improvement in cultural ties between the two countries.

Victor Freilich, a Soviet-born Israeli impresario, said today that he had signed contracts with the two groups to perform in Israel in 1989. He said four other Soviet and two Czechoslovak entertainment groups would perform in Israel by 1990.

Alex Onia, a spokesman for a visiting Soviet consular delegation, confirmed the plans to bring the groups to Israel but declined to comment on the political or cultural significance of the agreement.

Freilich returned Thursday from a three-week trip to Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. He said his talks in Moscow were with officials of the Soviet Ministry of Culture.

Two Soviet singers, Bulat Okudzhava and Alla Pugacheva, of the Moscow chamber orchestra, and the Igor Moiseyev dancers also would perform in Israel, Freilich added in an interview. He said these plans showed the Soviets "are moving toward an improvement in relations {with Israel}. The first stage is on the cultural level."

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aviv Shir-On, hailed the development as "a positive contribution to the relations between countries and nations." But he added, "We draw no conclusions regarding its political significance. "

{In Washington, Viktor Tikhonov, vice director of the Bolshoi, denied the report of a contract to perform in Israel, saying, "It's not true, we don't have any such plans."}

The Bolshoi Ballet is in Washington appearing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts until next Sunday.

The Soviet Union and Israel have had few direct links since the Kremlin broke ties with Israel after the Middle East war in June 1967.

The first official Soviet delegation to visit the Jewish state since that time arrived July 12 for an extended stay, one in a series of signs that point to improving relations between the two countries.

The delegation is in Israel to survey property held by the Russian Orthodox Church and to renew passports for 2,500 Soviet passport-holders who reside in Israel.

A top-ranking Russian Orthodox Church official arrived in Israel today as part of a five-member delegation that will attend festivities marking the 140th anniversary of Russian pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

The official, Bishop Philaret, will be received by President Chaim Herzog during his week-long visit. "I come as a religious man, and there is no political message," Philaret said on arrival.

One snag in the generally optimistic trend has been a controversy over Israel's reported testing of a nuclear-capable missile with a range of 900 miles, sufficient to reach the southern Soviet Union.

The test of the Jericho II ballistic missile was reported on Tuesday by the Geneva-based International Defense Review monthly. The magazine said the testing was carried out in the Mediterranean Sea.

{Referring to the magazine report, United Press International reported on Tuesday that Israel has tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile over a distance of 500 miles, capable of reaching regional capitals. Israel was expected to test another version of the missile with a range of approximately 900 miles, capable of reaching the southern Soviet Union, UPI reported.}

In response, Radio Moscow broadcast a Hebrew-language commentary accusing Israel of becoming "a party in the world nuclear struggle between the two large {superpower} blocs." It warned Israel to "think twice" before deploying such a missile.

Reacting to the broadcast, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres issued a written statement to foreign reporters today, saying: "Israel rejects the Soviet threats against her. Israel's security strategy is not an offensive one. Israel does not view the U.S.S.R. as an enemy and holds no hostile intentions toward her."

Peres proposed direct talks between countries of the region to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone. He also urged the Soviets to resume diplomatic ties with Israel.

"Israel sets no preconditions to the reestablishment of normal diplomatic relations and expects no such preconditions from the Soviet side. Full diplomatic representation should lead to better relations between the two countries," Peres added.

In a related development, an Israeli foreign ministry official said today that the state-run Yugoslav news agency Tanjug would open an office in Israel in the near future.

"With or without diplomatic relations, the Israeli-Yugoslav relations always were good. One swallow doesn't make the spring, but anyway, I'm the first swallow," said Miroslaw Wijnic, a Tanjug correspondent who will run the Israeli office.