12 November 2012, 10:35
Israel will do everything for Orthodox believers - Peres
Jerusalem, November 12, Interfax - Israeli President Shimon Peres said he will always remember Russia's exceptional role in the victory over fascism.
"I will never forget that Russia together with the allies emerged victorious from World War II, paying the dearest price for the victory - the lives of 30 million citizens who dealt the strongest blow on Nazi Germany and saved the world from a disaster," Peres told Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Sunday.
"Therefore, the Red Army deserves the highest praise and honor. That war demonstrated vivid cooperation between the United States, Europe and Russia. Russia indeed saved the world from total annihilation. We will never forget that Russia saved our people, putting an end to gas chambers and crematoriums," Peres said.
One third of the Jewish people perished in World War II, he said. About half a million Jews served in the Red Army and about 250,000 of them were killed in battles and 160,000 got high military awards and ranks, he said.
Israel profoundly respects the Russian Orthodox Church and other religions, he also said.
"We want to guarantee the safety of this religion, so Orthodox believers could pray according to their canons and rules. We will do everything we can for that and for ensuring their physical and spiritual peace," he said.
The Russian Patriarch said that Russian-Israeli relations have reached "the highest point in the Israeli state's history, which is largely due to political change observed in the late 20th century."
No other non-Slavic country has so many people speaking the Russian language, he said. Following the "wise decision" to scrap visas between Russia and Israel, the number of Russian pilgrims has reached hundreds of thousands, Patriarch Kirill said.