Jerusalem: On Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Russian leader Vladimir Putin has apologised for remarks made by Moscow’s top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov. He had claimed Adolf Hitler may have had “Jewish blood”.
The comments had sparked anger in the Jewish state.
“The Prime Minister accepted President Putin’s apology for Lavrov’s remarks and thanked him for clarifying his attitude towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust,” Bennett’s office said in a statement.
A Kremlin summary of the Bennett-Putin call, which came as Israel celebrated its 74th anniversary as a Jewish state, made no mention of Putin apologising.
It did, however, note that the leaders discussed the “historic memory” of the holocaust.
Lavrov claimed in an interview with an Italian media outlet published on Sunday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “puts forward an argument of what kind of Nazism they can have if he himself is Jewish.”
transcript posted on the Russian foreign ministry website, Lavrov said, “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood”.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid termed his comments as “an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error.”
Bennett slammed the remarks as “lies,” claiming that they effectively “accuse the Jews themselves of the most heinous crimes in history” committed against themselves.
For clarifying the remarks, Russia’s ambassador to Israel was summoned.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Israel has sought to walk a fine line, with Bennett emphasising Israel’s close ties to both Moscow and Kyiv.
Bennett has in particular sought to preserve Russian cooperation with Israeli strikes in Syria. There Russian forces are on the ground.
Ukraine’s requests for military support has been refuted by Israel.
Bennett has attempted to mediate the conflict and is one of only a few world leaders to meet with Putin since the invasion, visiting Moscow in early March.
As an independent media platform, we do not take advertisements from governments and corporate houses. It is you, our readers, who have supported us on our journey to do honest and unbiased journalism. Please contribute, so that we can continue to do the same in future.