The constituent session of the World Congress of Russian-speaking Jews opened at Moscow's Jewish community centre Rosche. Russian president Vladimir Putin sent his greeting to the session's participants. In this message he stressed that the work of the Congress was very important in the current situation when the whole world was fighting with extremism and xenophobia that were the sources of international terrorism, according to Putin.
Mayors of Jerusalem and Moscow Ehud Olmert and Yury Luzhkov also sent their greetings to the Congress.
The main objectives of the organization are to develop cooperation between Jewish communities and to support Jewish education and culture in the Russian language in different countries.
Another important goal is to consolidate Russian and Israeli efforts in fighting international terrorism, according to the session's participants.
Israel's deputy minister of immigrant absorption Yuli Edelstein expressed his hope that the organization would become "a movement that will louder than others say 'No' to anti-Semitism and 'Yes' to non-compromised support to Israel in its fight against terrorism." Chairman of the Russian-Israeli parliamentary association, member of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) Yuri Stern said that the PACE session in Strasbourg had adopted quite a moderate for Israel resolution on the Middle East. Stern pointed out that this had been achieved through special cooperation between Russia and Israel.
He called this "an extremely important precedent". "If we manage to create a constant mechanism of strategic, political and economic cooperation between Russia and Israel, we will be able to bring serious changes to the situation on the world arena," Stern explained.
The expansion of the Russian-Israeli interaction is "a unique opportunity for making a turn in the world politics, in the Middle East region," he believes. Israel's ambassador to Russia Nathan Meron in his turn pointed out that more than 1 million of the former USSR natives lived in Israel, and they constituted "an amazing, extraordinary community that fully integrated in all spheres of the Israeli life." Meron also said that the Russian-Israeli relations were recently "the closest and the best" in their history.
After two days in Moscow the participants of the session will leave for Jerusalem to be received by the city's mayor Ehud Olmert and Israel's president Moshe Katsav.