Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Thursday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has apologized for comments by top Moscow diplomat Sergei Lavrov who alleged that Adolf Hitler may have had “Jewish blood”.
The comments 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 Bennett-Putin’s appeal, which came as Israel marked 74 years since the creation of the Jewish state, made no mention of an apology from Putin.
It noted, however, that the leaders discussed the “historical memory” of the Holocaust.
In an interview with an Italian media outlet released on Sunday, Lavrov claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “puts forward an argument about what kind of Nazism they can have if he is Jewish himself”.
Lavrov, according to a transcript on the Russian Foreign Ministry website, then added: “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood”.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the comments “an unforgivable and outrageous statement, as well as a horrific historical mistake”.
Bennett denounced the comments as “lies” that he basically said “accuse the Jews themselves of the most horrific crimes in history” committed against themselves.
The Russian ambassador to Israel was called on to “clarify” the comments.
Israel has sought to walk a delicate line since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, with Bennett emphasizing Israel’s close ties to both Moscow and Kiev.
In particular, Bennett has tried to maintain Russian cooperation with Israeli strikes in Syria, where Russian troops are on the ground.
Israel has so far rejected Ukraine’s requests for military support and has instead supplied bulletproof vests and helmets for medical personnel, as well as an Israeli field hospital.
Bennett has tried to mediate in the conflict and is one of the handful of world leaders Putin has met since the invasion. He traveled to Moscow in early March.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)