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Israeli president thanks Putin for Russia’s historic role fighting Nazi Germany; visiting president speaks out against Holocaust denial
By Aaron Kalman
At a ceremony in Netanya alongside visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israel’s President Shimon Peres on Monday honored Russian soldiers who were killed while fighting the Nazis, saying the “Red Army prevented the world from being brought to its knees.” In similar vein, he expressed his certainty that Russian would fight today’s evil regimes, including Iran and Syria.
Peres welcomed Putin to Israel, saying the visit offered a chance for the Israeli people to salute Russia and the Red Army for their part in fighting the Nazis.
At the ceremony, inaugurating a memorial for the over eight million Red Army soldiers who died during World War II, Peres stressed the connection between the two countries. “Both our nations know suffering. Both our nations don’t surrender even to the greatest pain.”
The victory in 1945 was a victory for mankind, Putin noted, saying Russian and Israel share the same historical perspective on the event. “The Holocaust was a tragic event,” he said, “We must prevent any attempt of people to try and justify the Nazi ideology.”
The monument, Peres explained, has two white wings “that defeated the black wings” of evil. He quoted from a Russian folk song describing the spreading of the wings and asked, “What would have happened if the Nazi army had conquered Moscow instead of the Red Army conquering Berlin?”
The Russian nation paid a high price for its stance against evil, Peres said. For the Russian soldiers who liberated the Nazi concentration camps, “the Jewish people owe a historical ‘thank you’ to the Russians.”
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