Knesset Debate on Genocide Turns Ugly

TEL AVIV (–A debate Tuesday on the process of hearings on the Armenian Genocide in the Israeli Knesset turned ugly as opposing members passionately debated whether to consider the discussion of the Genocide, following a landmark decision last week by the Israeli legislature.
The Knesset decided on March 26 that a parliamentary committee will hold an unprecedented hearing on whether to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The decision to hold the hearing, which was proposed by Meretz Party Chairman Haim Oron was approved by all 12 members who attended the session.
At the center of Tuesday’s debate were Jewish-Armenian Friendship Council and Kadima Party Member Zeyev Yelkin and Our Home is Israel Party Member Yosef Shagal who last week opposed a discussion on the matter. Yelkin, on Tuesday, proposed that the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee would be the best forum in which to discuss this matter, Shagal opposed his recommendation.
Shagal said only populists can mandate that the Israeli Knesset discuss the Armenian Genocide issue. In response, Yelkin reminded Shagal that his fellow party member, the late Yuri Stern, was a proponent of the Genocide issue.
The mention of Stern evidently irked Shagal to a point to call Yelkin “a horned goat” and exclaim that “we should bash your face in.”
In an interview following the debate, Shagal said that this was not the appropriate time to address the Genocide resolution for fear of alienating Turkey. He also said that such a resolution might impact the more that 20,000 Jews living in Azerbaijan.
“God forbid if this matter goes forward,” exclaimed Shagal who warned that the Turkish, Azeri and even the Uzbek press were all commenting on this matter.
“It is the fault of those people who make such proposals and who do not understand what price we will pay for this,” Shagal said in his interview.
Oron wants the committee to recognize the Armenian genocide, pointing out that similar recognition has been afforded recently by the French parliament and the United States Congress. "It is appropriate that the Israeli Knesset, which represents the Jewish people, recognize the Armenian genocide," said Oron last week. "It is unacceptable that the Jewish people is not making itself heard."


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