Peres: Russian Jewry is part of our shared future

In Moscow meeting, Peres thanks Russian Jewry for sacrifices made in WWII, contributions to Israeli society.

By BEN HARMTAN
May 11, 2010 04:24
1 minute read.
Peres and Putin at Victory Day Celebrations

Peres Putin 311. (photo credit: Government Press Office)

MOSCOW – President Shimon Peres thanked Russian Jewry on Monday for the sacrifices they’d made to defeat the Nazis, and for their contributions to Israeli society and culture.

“We are the only non-Russian country where you hear people in the street speaking Russian and where the culture of Russia is so prominent,” he said. “Today in Israel, we have a first-class cultural renaissance. In our economy, but also in our culture, the presence of Jews who came from Russia is tremendous.”

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In his speech, which was given at a celebration in Moscow to honor Russian Jews who helped the Red Army defeat Nazi Germany 65 years ago, Peres spoke of what he viewed as a historical diminishing of the Red Army’s role in that defeat.

“History has diminished the role of the Russian Army in winning the war, and has also diminished the price you paid in the war,” Peres said, adding that it was an honor for him to give thanks to the Russian people, both Jewish and non-Jewish, for their sacrifices.

The president also praised Israelis of Russian background for their contribution to the Israel Defense Forces.

“Among immigrants to Israel from Russia [and the former Soviet Union] are many soldiers who serve as officers and enlisted men in the army, and do so showing unnatural courage,” he noted. “Two weeks ago, I gave out 120 service commendations for IDF soldiers. I listened to the names, and I heard ‘Vladimir,’ ‘Alexander.’ These are your sons... and they are our shared future.”

The celebration, which was held at the Moscow House of Scientists, was organized by the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and brought together Jewish leaders from across the former Soviet Union, as well as dozens of decorated Jewish World War II veterans.


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