JERUSALEM—Two members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, will attend centennial commemorations of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan on April 24. Members of the Knesset Nachman Shai and Anat Berko will attend the official 100th anniversary memorial in Yerevan, The Jerusalem Post reports.
Israel is walking a diplomatic tightrope in relation to the Armenian Genocide, Shai, who is a member of Israel’s Zionist Union party, said Tuesday.
“This is an event of deep historic significance,” Shai said. “For the first time in 100 years, the international community is finally recognizing the great injustice … Nationally, and for humanitarian reasons, it is the right thing to stand with a nation that suffered from such torment and a massacre that the world was careful not to admit took place.”
Shai called the event “the Armenian Holocaust,” pointing out that “the Jewish People sometimes don’t like it when other nations use the word holocaust, but it certainly was one.”
“It’s just like what the Nazis did to the Jews. One nation massacred another nation based only on their national and religious identity. [Ottoman] Turks were Muslim, Armenians were Christian. The Christians wanted their own state, and the Turks wouldn’t allow it.”
According to The Jerusalem Post, the Armenian government invited Israel to send an official delegation to the ceremony, and the Foreign Ministry asked the Knesset to have two members attend, though this does not mark a change in the government’s policy not to officially recognize the genocide.
Shai described the decision as a mature one by Israel, a realization that “nothing bad will happen if we make a gesture to the Armenians … The Turks may be mad, but we can’t close our eyes after 100 years.”
“Israel and the Jewish People can’t ignore the holocaust of the Armenian people,” he added.