According to Israeli news site Walla, Russian president Vladimir Putin has reportedly issued a rare apology to Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett regarding a statement from Russia’s foreign minister, who recently said Adolf Hitler had Jewish ancestry.
At the time of publication, Russia has yet to issue a public apology and the official Kremlin readout about the meeting didn’t mention an apology, but Walla reported it got the news directly from the Israeli prime minister’s office.
Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement caused a brief crisis in the relatively stable relationship between Russia and Israel. Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, like other heads of state, Bennett spoke to both Putin and Ukrainian’s president Volodomir Zelensky, trying to facilitate peace talks and even offered to host a summit in Jerusalem.
Earlier this week, Lavrov risked that relationship when he wrongly claimed that Hitler had Jewish ancestry. Lavrov gave the comment to Italian media when he was asked how Russia could justify its invasion and so called “de-Nazification” of Ukraine when Zelenskyy himself is Jewish.
“So what if Zelenskyy is Jewish? The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood,” Lavrov told “Zona Bianca” on Sunday. “Some of the worst anti-Semites are Jews,” he added. The unfounded theory that Hitler’s grandfather may have been Jewish originates from unproven claims by a Nazi-era lawyer and has been debunked by mainstream historians.
Israel’s foreign minister, who summoned the Russian ambassador and demanded an apology in response to Lavrov’s interview, called the statement “unforgivable and outrageous.”
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