Israel says Putin apologizes for foreign minister’s comments

The Israeli prime minister said the Russian president apologized for Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remark that Nazi leader Hitler might have “Jewish blood.”

“The prime minister accepted President Putin’s apologies for Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remarks and thanked the Russian president for clarifying the stance towards the Jewish people,” the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement on Thursday, along with leaders of the two countries .

The Kremlin has not yet commented on this information.

Russian President Putin (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Bennett held talks in Moscow in early March Photo: AP.

Russian President Putin (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Bennett held talks in Moscow in early March. Photo: AP.

In an interview with Italian media published May 1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “had an argument about the kind of Nazism they would have had had he been Jewish himself “.

In a transcript of the interview published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website, Lavrov added: “I could be wrong, but Hitler is also of Jewish blood” and “wise Jews say anti-Semitism.” The most enthusiastic Jews are usually the Jews. “

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the comment “unforgivable, one-sided and a terrible historical error”. Prime Minister Bennett condemned the comments as “lies” and “accused the Jews of the most horrific crimes in history” against themselves. Israel summoned the Russian ambassador to “clarify” the comments.

The Kremlin summary of the phone call between President Putin and Prime Minister Bennett, which took place as Israel is celebrating the 74th anniversary of the Jewish state, makes no mention of Putin’s apology. According to the Kremlin, the two leaders discussed the importance of the upcoming Victory Day celebrations for the people of both countries.

“The Russian President reiterated that of the 6 million Jews who were tortured in the ghettos and death camps and killed by the Nazis during punitive operations, 40% were Soviet citizens,” the document said, the Kremlin press office reported. “Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in turn, emphasized the crucial contribution of the Soviet Red Army to the victory over Nazism.”

Israel has tried to maintain its neutrality since Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine in late February, when Prime Minister Bennett emphasized Israel’s close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv. In particular, Mr. Bennett tried to maintain cooperation with Russia on Israeli attacks in Syria, where Russian forces are located.

So far, Israel has refused Ukraine’s request for military assistance, instead providing bulletproof vests and helmets for medical personnel and a field hospital. Mr. Bennett has tried to mediate and was one of the few world leaders to have met Putin since Russia began campaigning when he arrived in Moscow in early March.

Huyen Le (Corresponding AFP, CNN, rt)