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    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin sits for consultations, with representatives of parties elected to parliament (Knesset) last week, at his residence in Jerusalem on March 22, 2015

    Israeli No-Show at Moscow's Victory Day Parade Put Down to Sabbath

    © AFP 2019 / MENAHEM KAHANA
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    The 2015 Victory Day Celebrations in Moscow (90)
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    Like some countries that were touched by the horror of World War Two, Israel's leaders have chosen not to attend the V-Day parade in Moscow. However, their decision is far from a revanchist snub; it's simply that the day falls on Saturday, the Jewish day of rest, and like many devout Jews, they will refrain from engaging in most activity.

    Among the speculations as to why some of the Western leaders have chosen not to attend the Victory Parade in Moscow on May 9, the Director of International Programs of the Russian Jewish Congress Benny Briskin provided his own explanation.

    “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.

    Moscow is set to host grandiose celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in the Second World War.

    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.

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    The 2015 Victory Day Celebrations in Moscow (90)

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    Tags:
    Sabbath, 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade, Reuven Rivlin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Moscow, Russia
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