Ceremony on Publication of Documents on Israel-USSR Relations

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
April 10, 2000

Foreign Minister David Levy and Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Ivan Ivanovich Sergeyev, officiated at a ceremony yesterday (April 9) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to mark the publication of a collection of documents dealing with Israeli-USSR relations from 1941 to 1953.

Addressing the team of experts and researchers who worked on the publication of the documents, Levy said that the joint project was a step in building trust between Russia and Israel and testifies to the good relations existing between the two states in every area. The papers shed light on the aid given by the USSR to help the Jewish people establish an independent state in the land of Israel, for which we are grateful to the Russian people. At the beginning of the period of modern Zionism, many Jews arrived in Israel from Russia and contributed to building the country. In recent years, some million new immigrants have arrived from areas of the former USSR, making a very important contribution to Israeli society, economy and culture. Immigrants from Russia constitute a strong bridge connecting the two peoples.

Minister Levy remarked that the book makes a fitting present to Israel as the Passover holiday – the "festival of freedom" – approaches, a time when we remember the past and take pride in the present in order to build the future. One can also look at the collection as a present from the Israeli team to recently-elected Russian President Putin.

The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister stated that the relations between the two countries have seen ups and downs, including a severing of relations. The documents published now will help in understanding past events for the benefit of the good relations prevailing today between the two states.

Prof. Gorodetsky of Tel Aviv University, who headed the Israeli team, emphasized in his speech that there is almost no precedent for the joint publication of such a collectoin of documents by two governments, and that the next goal is to publish papers on the relations between the two states in the years 1953-1967.