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.”
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
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.