Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he accepted an apology from Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday for controversial statements about the Holocaust by Moscow’s top diplomats.
The two leaders spoke over the phone, after which an Israeli statement said Putin had apologized.
However, no apology was mentioned in the Russian explanation for the call. Instead, they stressed the importance of marking the Nazi defeat in World War II, which Russia is celebrating on Monday.
Mr Bennett emerged shortly after Moscow’s invasion as a potential mediator between Russia and Ukraine. But that role was cast in doubt this week when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made statements about the Holocaust that deeply offended Jews.
Asked in an interview with an Italian news channel about Russian claims that it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” the country, Lavrov said Ukraine may still have Nazi elements even though its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish .
“Hitler was also Jewish, I think, so it means absolutely nothing. For some time now, we’ve been hearing from the Jewish people that the biggest anti-Semites were Jews,” he told the station in Russian.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called Mr Lavrov’s testimony “unforgivable and scandalous and a terrible historical error”.
“The Jews did not kill themselves in the Holocaust,” said Mr. Lapid, the son of a Holocaust survivor. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame the Jews themselves for anti-Semitism.”
Mr Bennett, more measured in his criticism of Russia’s invasion, said Putin had apologized.
“The Prime Minister accepted President Putin’s apology for Lavrov’s remarks and thanked him for clarifying the President’s attitude towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust,” Mr Bennett’s office said in a statement.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/israeli-pm-accepts-apology-for-russias-hitler-slur-41619465.html Israeli Prime Minister accepts an ‘apology’ for Russia’s abuse of Hitler