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.

Peres Putin 311 (photo credit: Government Press Office)
Peres Putin 311
(photo credit: Government Press Office)
MOSCOW – President Shimon Peres thanked Russian Jewry on Monday for thesacrifices they’d made to defeat the Nazis, and for their contributionsto Israeli society and culture.
“We are the only non-Russiancountry where you hear people in the street speaking Russian and wherethe culture of Russia is so prominent,” he said. “Today in Israel, wehave a first-class cultural renaissance. In our economy, but also inour culture, the presence of Jews who came from Russia is tremendous.”
Inhis speech, which was given at a celebration in Moscow to honor RussianJews who helped the Red Army defeat Nazi Germany 65 years ago, Peresspoke of what he viewed as a historical diminishing of the Red Army’srole in that defeat.
“History has diminished the role of theRussian Army in winning the war, and has also diminished the price youpaid in the war,” Peres said, adding that it was an honor for him togive thanks to the Russian people, both Jewish and non-Jewish, fortheir 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 gaveout 120 service commendations for IDF soldiers. I listened to thenames, and I heard ‘Vladimir,’ ‘Alexander.’ These are your sons... andthey are our shared future.”
The celebration, which was held at the Moscow House of Scientists, wasorganized by the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and brought together Jewishleaders from across the former Soviet Union, as well as dozens ofdecorated Jewish World War II veterans.