Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 11, 2021 outside Pskov, Russia.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
- Moscow’s top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, claimed that Adolf Hitler might have had “Jewish blood”.
- Lavrov made the comments in an interview with an Italian media outlet.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized for the claims during a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has apologized for comments made by Moscow’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov who claimed Adolf Hitler may have had “Jewish blood.”
The comments had sparked outrage in the Jewish state.
“The prime minister accepted President Putin’s apology for Lavrov’s comments 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 marked 74 years since the creation of the Jewish state, made no mention of an apology from Putin.
However, he noted that the leaders discussed the “historical memory” of the holocaust.
In an interview with an Italian media outlet published on Sunday, Lavrov claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “makes an argument about what kind of Nazism they can have if he himself is a Jew.”
Lavrov, according to a transcript posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website, later added: “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood.”
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Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the comments “an inexcusable and outrageous statement, as well as a terrible historical mistake.”
Bennett denounced the comments as “lies” that he said effectively “charge the Jews themselves with the most horrible crimes in history,” perpetrated against themselves.
Russia’s ambassador to Israel was summoned to “clarify” the comments.
Israel has tried to tread a delicate line since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and Bennett emphasized Israel’s close ties to Moscow and kyiv.
Bennett has particularly sought to preserve Russian cooperation with Israeli strikes in Syria, where Russian forces are on the ground.
So far, Israel has rejected Ukraine’s requests for military support, instead providing bulletproof vests and helmets for medical workers, as well as an Israeli field hospital.
Bennett has tried to mediate the conflict and is among a handful of world leaders who have met with Putin since the invasion, traveling to Moscow in early March.
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