June 24 - The Israeli coastal city of Netanya is making hurried preparations for Russian President Vladmir Putin's visit to inaugurate a World War II memorial. Lindsey Parietti reports.
A memorial to World War II is about to put a small Israeli city on the map. Russian President Vladmir Putin is slated to inaugurate the monument in Netanya Monday, commemorating the Red Army's triumph over Nazi Germany. A large number of Red Army veterans like Shlomo Fishman live in the coastal city. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SHLOMO FISHMAN, RED ARMY VETERAN AND CEO OF THE ASSOCIATION OF WORLD WAR TWO HANDICAPPED IN ISRAEL, SAYING: "The veterans' dream was that here in Netanya, in Israel, the monument for the heroic Red Army, with which we fought against Nazi Germany, will be built." Artist Chen Winkler said his team worked at breakneck speed to construct the $1 million, 15-meter high wings in time for Putin's visit. (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) CHEN WINKLER, AN ARTIST AND A SCULPTOR WHO CONSTRUCTED THE MONUMENT, SAYING: "An experience of creation, which I can say that for me as an artist (is) an asset that will remain for generations to come. Such a statue -- my grandchildren and great grand children will be able to come here and learn and to connect to our history. Our privileges today (exist) thanks to what had happened then." Israel estimate over 500,000 Jews fought in the Red Army. Lindsey Parietti, Reuters