A NIS 32 million memorial to the 1.5 million Jews who fought with the Allied
forces in World War II will be established near the Armored Corp’s museum in
Latrun, the cabinet decided on Sunday.
According to the decision, half of
the funds will come from the government, and the other half form private
Opinion: Memorial Day here and there
US Jewish chaplains to get new memorial
The memorial is to be completed by the end of 2014. Minister
Yossi Peled will chair a ministerial team – which will also include Immigrant
Absorption Minister Sofa Landver – that will oversee the implementation of the
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s meeting that
he ascribed great importance to the proposed memorial and to another site in
Netanya being built to commemorate the Red Army’s victory over the
“Our people were in danger of annihilation. They were ready to
sacrifice and indeed sacrificed much. We will commemorate and remember these
people. It is due to their sacrifice that we are here,” Netanyahu
According to the website of the future museum, about 1.5 million
Jews fought with the Allied Forces in all branches of the military, in all
theaters of battle, and on all levels of command.
In addition, another
93,000 fought in various underground organizations.
About 250,000 Jews
fell in battle.
The number of Jews fighting in World War II ranged from
550,000 Jews in the US Army, 500,000 in the Red Army, 62,000 British Jews,
12,898 Greek Jews, 3,854 Australian Jews and 40 Indian Jews.
Jewish volunteers from pre-state Palestine – out of a total Jewish population
estimated at 450,000 – volunteered to fight.
Ariel Sharon’s government
first decided to establish a committee to push forward with a plan to establish
the memorial in May 2002. After no real progress on the project was made, Ehud
Olmert’s government, in January 2007, set up a steering committee to push it
This monument will be in addition to another one being built in
Netanya to commemorate the Red Army’s victory over Germany in World War
Netanyahu announced plans to build that memorial during a meeting in
Moscow in February 2010 with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
During that meeting, Netanyahu said the gesture was in honor of
the 65th anniversary of the victory over the Third Reich. His announcement was
made amid a growing concern in Russia that its role and enormous sacrifice in
the victory over Nazism have been underplayed.
Approximately 25 million
Soviets were killed during WWII, including 11 million Red Army soldiers, of
which an estimated 200,000 were Jews.