Putin ignores recent tensions over Ukraine in Independence Day greetings to Israel

May 6, 2022 by TPS
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Some in Israel are speculating that the Russian government may be looking to put the past week’s tensions aside and try to restore better relations with the State of Israel.

PM Naftali Bennett and President of Russia Vladimir Putin. (Koby Gideon/GPO)

This comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Israel’s President Isaac Herzog an official letter of congratulations for Israel’s 74th Independence Day observed on Thursday. Putin expressed his confidence that the two nations would continue to enjoy “mutual respect” in the future.

No mention was made of the past week’s diplomatic row between the two nations.

The turmoil began on Sunday when Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during an interview with the Italian news channel Zona Bianca, stated that even Hitler had “Jewish blood.” The comment came after being questioned as to why Russia continues to claim that its invasion of Ukraine is intended to “save” the country from a Nazi regime when its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in fact Jewish himself.

In response, Lavrov said that Zelensky is Jewish “does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood…some of the worst anti-Semites are Jews.”

The next day Israel’s Foreign Minister condemned the remarks and demanded an apology.

However, instead of an apology, on Tuesday, in response to the criticism, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Israel of supporting Nazism in a statement saying, “we draw attention to the anti-historical statements of the head of the Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, largely explaining the course of the current Israeli government to support the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

The ministry also published a long document allegedly proving the existence of Neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism in Ukraine and described how many Jews were themselves, collaborators, with the Nazis during the Holocaust.

President Vladimir simply ignored all of this in his letter to President Herzog writing, “I sincerely congratulate you on the Independence Day of the State of Israel. I am confident that Russian-Israeli relations based on the principles of friendship and mutual respect will continue to develop for the benefit of our peoples and in favor of strengthening peace and security in the Middle East.”

Putin went on to wish Herzog “good health and every success, as well as happiness and prosperity to all the citizens of Israel.”

In a further exchange, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday.

The Prime Minister presented the President with a humanitarian request to examine various options for evacuation from Azovstal in Mariupol. The request came as a result of Prime Minister Bennett’s conversation yesterday with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

President Putin promised to allow the evacuation of civilians, including wounded civilians, through a UN and Red Cross humanitarian corridor.

In addition, the two discussed Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remarks. The Prime Minister accepted President Putin’s apology for Lavrov’s remarks and thanked him for clarifying his attitude towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust.

Prime Minister Bennett thanked President Putin for his wishes on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day of the State of Israel.


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