YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey are widely recognized as a genocide in Israel, an Israeli cabinet minister said after visiting the Armenian Genocide memorial here on Friday, August 24.
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein also drew parallels between the Jewish Holocaust and the World War I-era slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians, which many historians consider the first genocide of the 20th century.
“True, there is no state law [in Israel rec- ognizing the Genocide,]” Edelstein said. “But I think that in Israel, in view of … our common history and some similar elements and moments, you will hardly find people who will deny the Genocide, who will say, like we unfortunately hear, that all this is fabrications and lies.”
“So I think that unfortunately — I stress, unfortunately — in this area our peoples have quite a lot in common, quite a lot for mutual understanding,” he said.
Citing the strategic character of Israel’s relationship with Turkey, successive Israeli governments have resisted domestic calls
for Armenian Genocide recognition. An Israeli Foreign Ministry official reaffirmed this stance during landmark hearings on the issue that were organized by an Israeli parliament committee last December.
Support for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide appears to have grown within the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and the government since 2010. Some observers link that to Israel’s worsened relations with Turkey, which vehemently denies the Genocide.