Photo Credit: Israeli Embassy in Russia
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, September 21, 2015.

Zero tolerance for xenophobia and any attempts to falsify history is what Russia and Israel have in common, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a telegram to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that was published on the Kremlin website Monday.

The Russian leader noted that over the decades, Russia and Israel had gained important experience of fruitful cooperation in many spheres and partner cooperation on many major issues on the international agenda.


“What unites us is zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, manifestations of xenophobia and interethnic hatred, as well as any attempts to falsify history and revise the results of World War II,” Putin stressed.

According to Russian media, since the early 2000s, the levels of anti-Semitism in Russia have been low and steadily decreasing. The President of the Russian Jewish Congress attributed this in part to the removal of state sponsorship of anti-Semitism. But experts have warned that worsening economic conditions may lead to the surge of xenophobia, particularly anti-Semitism.

Alexey Levinson, head of sociocultural research at the independent Levada Center in Russia last year told Medialine (Jews in Russia Fear Low Levels of Anti-Semitism Are Temporary) that “the current decline in anti-Semitic state acts is because of the personal position of the current president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. They think that if he changes his mind or another, less tolerant person takes his place, the whole state apparatus and the public will return to the usual anti-Semitism.”

“It’s a peculiar age in Russian history. During the Russian Empire, Jews were a severely discriminated-against minority,” Levinson said, explaining that the Russian nobility was destroyed after the revolution and in the 1918-1920 civil war, but at the end of the day, the Jews picked up some of the features of Russian nobility, because “they are highly educated and maintain and further Russian culture.”

Dasha Mikhelson, press secretary of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, told Medialine: “In big cities, Jews have everything they need for observing traditions – like minyans, kosher food, and mikvahs. We have a new generation being born that knows who they are and what is it to be a Jew.”


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