President Peres in Russia
Photo: Reuters

Peres: We never asked US to fight for us

President Peres takes jab at European states during Moscow visit, says Israel never asked American mothers to send their children to fight on behalf of Jewish State, as opposed to Europeans during World War II

President Shimon Peres took a jab Monday at European states that recently criticized Israel, saying that unlike their conduct in World War II, Israel has never asked that American soldiers fight on its behalf.


The president stressed that no other country shares a similar history with Israel, which has been forced to go to war seven times in its 62-year history.


"Some people in the West criticize Israel. Yet when many of them fought, they asked for America's help," he said.


Peres emphasized that while Israel shares a friendship with the United States, it has never asked American mothers to send their children to fight for Israel or alongside the Jewish State.


"We fought on our own, and we won on our own" he said.


It should be noted that criticism has been heard from American ranks as well in recent months when Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the US Military's Central Command reportedly said Israel's policies endanger US troops. Petraeus denied the reports a day later.


'World downplayed Russia's role'

The president, who is currently visiting Moscow, made his remarks in a convention attended by about 1,000 Jews from Russia and the former Soviet Union. The event was held to mark the 65th anniversary of the Red Army's victory over Nazi German.


Many of those in attendance were Jewish World War II veterans who served in the Red Army.


In his address, Peres referred to the commemoration events he attended Sunday, saying that he was granted the privilege of thanking the Russian people for their sacrifices en route to defeating the Nazis.


"Eighty percent of the war's victims fell on the Russian side, including 200,000 Jews," he said, adding that the world has downplayed Russia's role in defeating Hitler.


The president also lauded the immigration of Jews fro the former USSR to Israel, and said the immigrants strengthened Israel. "Russia," he said, "allowed the Jewish people, even through years of pogroms and anti-Semitism, to pray to out God and long for Israel.


"It has also recently given us an unusual gift, one million Jews who immigrated to Israel. They changed the face of Israel. We have no land, water or oil, but we have a big spirit, which has been going for 3,000 years now. It is stronger than any military and richer than any oil."


Miriam Peretz, mother of Golani fighters Eliraz and Uriel who both fell in combat, was also at the event, and said, "My sons did not seek war, they did not rejoice in battle, but when they were called upon to defend their people, they did not hesitate. They said, 'It is our turn mother.' Every generation has its heroes, every generation has its fallen and every generation has its gallantry.


"This was the case 65 years ago, when the sons of Russia fought that Nazi enemy and were able to overcome it, and my people rose from the dust and built a splendid country," she added.


The bereaved mother went on to say, "I am amazed by your valor, which overcame the evil. Your struggle did not end, it simply changes shape. Today we should also stand guard against those who seek our downfall. And, while aspiring for good and justice, we will overcome them too."


פרסום ראשון: 05.10.10, 21:05
 new comment
This will delete your current comment