Politicians wish Russian Israelis a 's novim godom' on Novy God

With around 1.2 million in the country, Russian-speakers are both an integral part of Israeli society and a major voting bloc for the upcoming election in March.

A decorated spruce tree, traditional in the Novi God (New Year) celebration, seen at a Russian-Israeli home in Jerusalem, on January 1, 2016. Novigod is a Russian tradition of celebrating together with family on New Year's Eve, and new year's day. Novigod celebrations take after Christmas festive sy (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
A decorated spruce tree, traditional in the Novi God (New Year) celebration, seen at a Russian-Israeli home in Jerusalem, on January 1, 2016. Novigod is a Russian tradition of celebrating together with family on New Year's Eve, and new year's day. Novigod celebrations take after Christmas festive sy
(photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
Politicians from around the political map wished Israel's Russian population a s novim godom – Happy New Year in Russian – on Thursday in honor of Novy God, the Russian new year's celebration.
Israel is home to a core Russian-Jewish population of around 900,000, with an enlarged population of 1.2 million when including those who are not considered Jewish by the state, making them both an integral part of Israeli society and a major voting bloc for the upcoming election in March.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished the Russian-speaking citizenry a "year of health," adding that he hopes they will "lend a shoulder" in the vaccine drive to allow Israeli society to return to normal as quickly as possible from the coronavirus crisis.
Netanyahu praised Israeli Russian-speaking gold medalists Peter Paltchik (European Judo Champion) and Artem Dolgopyat (European Gymnastics champion) for their achievements, adding praises for the many Russian-speaking healthcare professionals on the front lines of the crisis.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid posted a humorous Novy God greeting on Facebook, asking Russian-speaking MK and former Olympic gymnast Yoel Razbozov to eat an entire bowl of traditional Russian potato salad to "show his dedication to the Russian public of Israel."
Razbozov showed his dedication by finishing almost the entire bowl before wishing everyone a s novim godom, while Lapid stood laughing beside him.

In addition to the video, Razbozov earlier announced that following an appeal he made to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Russian-Israeli soldiers will be able to take a leave for Novy God, despite an initial decision to leave them on base due to coronavirus concerns.
Labor Party leader Amir Peretz posted a Novy God blessing on Thursday as well, complimenting the spirit of Israel's Russian population throughout the coronavirus crisis, while also urging them to celebrate safely and adhere to Health Ministry guidelines.
"This year, we need to get past this difficult plague, with as little casualties as possible, so that we can have as many happy people as possible celebrating with us next year as well," Peretz said.