Russian servicemen take part in a rehearsal for the Victory parade on Moscow's Red Square.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israelis are gearing up to mark the Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany, which is celebrated every year on May 9 in the countries of the former Soviet Union as well as by many former residents of Warsaw Pact nations living in the Jewish state.
According to Yad Vashem, some 1.5 million Jews served in the various allied armies during the war. Many of those surviving live here. Half a million of them were part of the Red Army.
Former Soviet soldiers hold parades around the country, often wearing their old uniforms, while Yad Vashem hosts a ceremony honoring the former military men.
According to a recent poll almost half of Israelis have expressed support for making it an official Israeli holiday.
This year the Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II and Yad Vashem will hold a state ceremony at the Armored Corps Memorial at Latrun that will be attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Tensions with Russia have affected how the day is being celebrated, with Israel declining to send a representative to Moscow this year due to tensions over the sale of antiaircraft missile systems to Iran.
The Ukrainian and Russian embassies will hold separate events here, each of which will likely be at least somewhat politicized given the current tensions between Moscow and Kiev.