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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Israel and Russia: shared memory and focus on the future

We often hear that the relations between Israel and Russia is special, and indeed it is.

photo: pixabay.com

Life itself brought together the fate of our peoples and States. The hidden Foundation of the present era of partnership and mutual understanding created a community of history and culture of the peoples of Russia and Israel.

More than a thousand years the Russians and Jews live side by side.

In the nineteenth century over two thirds of the Jewish people were subjects of the Russian Empire. Develop Jewish culture and tradition, here made the first steps of the Zionist movement were born here, many of the founding fathers and leaders of the state of Israel, where the family roots has become the pride of our country’s military leaders, the world-famous scientists and artists.

In the XX century during the Second world war, the Russians and the Jews together with all the peoples of the coalition waged a deadly battle against the Nazi beast, to complete his defeat.

In the twenty-first century, in Israel and Russia is a growing need for in-depth study of our common heritage, and especially its especially tragic pages of world war II and the Holocaust. Our people resisted the Nazi absolute evil that sought to destroy the Jews, Slavs and all those who did not answer perverted criteria of the insane racial theories.

Today we remember and remind others of the terrible price paid by the Jews and the peoples of Russia for defeating this monster. We know that the Red Army saved Europe and the world from disaster. We remember also that in the ranks of the red Army fought more than half a million Jewish soldiers, and two hundred thousand of them were killed on the fronts.

May 9 — Victory Day in Israel is celebrated as a national holiday, and currently the Knesset is considering a bill on its entry in the register state. In June 2012, in the Israeli city of Netanya was opened a monument to soldiers of the red Army. In the calendar of Jewish religious holidays included date 26 Iyar — the Day of Salvation and deliverance.

For Israel is unacceptable attempts at revisionism of history. This position, which we share with the Russian people, consistent with the principles of historical justice.

May 14, 1948, the Soviet Union voting in the United Nations supported a resolution on the establishment of a Jewish state, then one of the first in the world community recognized the independence of Israel.

In 1967, after the six day war, the Soviet Union initiated the severance of diplomatic relations with Israel. The Soviet policy of that era was anti-Israel and sometimes anti-Semitic. Israel took this very seriously and responded accordingly. Looking back, we should recognize that this conflict nobody won, the Soviet-Israeli conflict period of the cold war was an anomaly, a deviation from normal or logical order of things.

In 1991, Israel and Russia restored diplomatic relations in full. Improving relations went at a rapid pace, showing just how great mutual interest and a mutual commitment to the constant development cooperation. Positive dynamics remains today and in the future.

The Jews in Russia now enjoy full religious freedom, and Jewish communities are thriving more than ever. Continuing a long tradition of peaceful coexistence of the Russian and Jewish peoples.

Unfortunately, until now, in Russia, as in other countries, we are faced with the manifestations of anti-Semitism. However, we know how quickly and decisively the Russian state structures to suppress them, and very grateful for it.

If to speak about relations between people, in the case of Israel and Russia the concept of “public diplomacy” is not a commonplace term. Russian-speaking Israelis, natives of Russia and other countries of the Soviet Union, made it real politics, due to which the ties between our countries and peoples really strong and alive, and more active processes of rapprochement, confidence-building and finding common language in the dialogue at the international level.

All the Israeli government was aware of great importance of the relations with the new Russia and strove for their development. The Prime Ministers of Israel since Yitzhak Rabin often visited Moscow, establishing and maintaining personal contacts with the Russian leadership. Each such visit is an important stage of the dialogue at the highest level, when reached agreements and signed agreement.

Our Ministry of foreign Affairs has secured a wide network of regular contacts on a variety of issues. I believe that in the Israeli foreign Ministry there is no Department which would be daily communication with the Russian colleagues. Similarly, construct the communication of relevant ministries and departments in such areas as economy, trade, science, health, culture, education, innovation, agriculture, and many others.

We are working to increase trade, economic and investment cooperation between Israel and Russia, we have created effective mechanism of interaction in the intergovernmental Commission. Began negotiations for the free trade agreement between Israel and the Eurasian Union.

Since 2008, when entered into force the agreement on visa-free regime, we note the rise of mutual tourist flow between our countries: the Russians and the Israelis are more and more willing to go to each other’s homes, on business or just on vacation.

The dialogue between Israel and Russia plays an important role in the complex processes that occur in the middle East. We experience similar concerns about the spread of radical Islamism that threatens our region and around the world. Terrorism has become a common threat for Russia and Israel, and we believe that in the interests of both countries to act against it together. The same common interest we have — to regional stability in the middle East, a task we can and must solve together.

Over the past quarter century Israel and Russia have built a great Foundation for further development of relations. If our joint plans will be implemented, cooperation between Israel and Russia will become more full and deep.


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