“Jews in Israel, especially at a state level, do not have the right to participate in ceremonies which are somehow connected with travelling. If the Israeli president – the top public official of the country – publicly violates the Sabbath even for the very best occasion, it might lead to a scandal, up to the dissolution of the government,” the website Metro quoted him as saying.
The Israeli media, however, says that the decision of the country’s top politicians to refrain from the trip has little to do with the Sabbath. It comes amid high tensions with Moscow over the lifting of an embargo on the delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran.
Anatoly El Murid, a Middle East specialist, is convinced that President Rivlin's decision is, actually, conditioned by his stance on Crimea.
“There is an opinion that Israel does not recognize the contribution of the Soviet soldiers to the Victory and call for the re-write of history,” the website quotes him as saying. “This is not true. Israel simply adheres to the stance of the Western countries and thinks that the joining of Crimea and Russia was [an] annexation (forcible way of joining). That is the reason for them to ignore such events as the V-day Parade in the Red Square. This is some form of a protest,” he said.
This will be the last decennial anniversary of what Russians still refer to as the "Great Patriotic War" to feature a significant number of veterans who fought in the war as enlisted men.
At least 26 state leaders have accepted Moscow's invitation so far. A full list of the participants in the events will be announced by the end of April 2015.
Some leaders, including European Council President Donald Tusk, United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven declined the invitation in light of Russia's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not attend Moscow's annual Victory Day parade on May 9, but will visit the Russian capital a day later, May 10, to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider together with President Vladimir Putin.