The Cabinet Sunday approved a memorial site to Jewish soldiers who fought in World War II and helped the victory over the Nazi regime. Half of the funding will come from the government and half from external sources.
The memorial sites will be established near the IDF Armored Corps memorial site at Latrun, off the highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Another site in Netanya will commemorate the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis. Thousands of former Soviet Bloc Jews now living in Israel fought in the war for the Soviet army.
"Our people were in danger of annihilation and mobilized,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet. “They were ready to sacrifice and indeed sacrificed much. We will commemorate and remember these people. It is due to their sacrifice that we are here.”
Approximately half a million American Jews fought in World War II. In the Soviet Union, where approximately two million Jews were killed by the Nazi regime, Jews were sent to the front lines in disproportionate numbers compared with other groups.
However, Stalin continued to suppress Judaism after the war, and many Jews were murdered, including leading Russian Jewish intellectuals who were killed in the “Night of the Murdered Poets.”
Jews were virtually forbidden to leave the Soviet Union for Israel until the gates broke open in the 1970s, and more than one million Soviet Jews have since “made aliyah” to Israel.