President Vladimir Putin apologized after his foreign minister suggested Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood,” Israel said.
On Sunday, days after Israel observed Holocaust Remembrance Day, one of the most solemn anniversaries in the Israeli calendar, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was questioned how Russia can claim to be striving to “de-Nazify” Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
Lavrov replied: “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood. [That Zelensky is Jewish] means absolutely nothing. Wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.”
The remarks incited anger in Israel, where Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Germany massacred six million Jews during WWII.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that “such lies are aimed at blaming the Jews themselves for the most horrible crimes in history and thereby exonerate the oppressors of the Jews from their responsibilities.”
According to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Putin has apologized, even though the Russian version of the conversation did not mention an apology.
“I accepted Putin’s apology and thanked him for clarifying his attitude towards Jews and the remembrance of the Holocaust,” Bennett’s office stated on May 5.
Russia claimed the two leaders addressed the Holocaust but did not say he apologized for it.
This week, Israeli media claimed that Israel was contemplating increasing military and civilian support to Ukraine after being criticised for not adopting a harsher position against Russia.