Russian President Vladimir Putin has apologized to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for his foreign minister’s comments that Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood”. The information was published today by the prime minister’s office.
After receiving a call from Putin, Bennett accepted the apology and thanked the Russian for “clarifying his stance on the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust.”
Last Sunday, Russian Chancellor Sergei Lavrov said in an interview that Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins. He was asked how Russia would justify war with Ukraine, saying it wants to “denazify” the country if the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is Jewish.
“When they say ‘what kind of nazification is this if we are Jews’, well I think Hitler had Jewish blood too, so that doesn’t mean anything,” Lavrov said, speaking through an Italian interpreter. “We have long heard the wise Jewish people say that the greatest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves.”
The speech was condemned by the Israeli government, which accused Lavrov of anti-Semitism and belittling the Holocaust.
“These lies are intended to accuse the Jews themselves of the most horrible crimes in history that have been committed against them,” Bennett said in a statement following the remarks. “The use of the Jewish people’s Holocaust for political ends must stop immediately.”
In the call with Putin, Bennett said he asked him to consider allowing people to evacuate from the Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol. The place has been under siege for days.
The Israeli said he made the request after a previous conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and that Putin had promised to create a corridor for the evacuation of civilians.
*With information from AFP and Reuters