Will Israel’s position on Ukraine change after the scandal over Lavrov’s words

Relations between Russia and Israel escalated after the words of Sergei Lavrov about the possible Jewish origin of Hitler. How the diplomatic scandal will affect Tel Aviv's position on Ukraine – in the material RBC jpg” alt=”Will Israel's position on Ukraine change after the scandal because of Lavrov's words” />

Why Israel called Lavrov's statements inadmissible

Russia and Israel continue to exchange mutual accusations, which began after the statements of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the topic of anti-Semitism and the situation in Ukraine. On Wednesday, May 4, the official representative of the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, on the air of Rossiya24 stated that Israel ignored the situation with the spread of neo-Nazism in Ukraine, while Moscow drew its attention to this problem. “You can cling to words and phrases as much as you like. But why, with the same zeal, was it not to cling to the Nazi literature that circulates, is distributed among the nationalist battalions? Why not cling to the symbols of “Azov”? said Zakharova.

Earlier, Lavrov gave an interview to the Mediaset television company founded by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, in which he commented on the Jewish origin of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the context of a Russian special operation. “He [Zelensky] puts forward an argument: what kind of Nazism can they have if he is a Jew? I may be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood. It means absolutely nothing. The wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews, — said the Russian minister in an interview published on May 1.


The next day, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid reacted to Lavrov's words, calling them outrageous. According to him, the statements of the Russian official “are a terrible historical mistake.” “Jews did not kill themselves during the Holocaust. The accusation of the Jews themselves of anti-Semitism— this is the lowest level of racism against the Jews,” — Lapid continued. Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov was summoned to the country's Foreign Ministry for an explanatory conversation.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also spoke out, calling Lavrov's words “unforgivable”. “His words are not true, and their message is wrong. The purpose of such lies is to blame the Jews themselves for the most heinous crimes in history that have been committed against them, and thereby exonerate Israel's enemies from accountability. said in a statement released on Monday. The Israeli prime minister stressed that “the use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political tool must be stopped immediately.”

On May 3, the Russian Foreign Ministry on its Telegram channel published a response to Lapid's statement, calling them “anti-historical”; and “largely explaining the course of the current Israeli government to support the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.” On the same day, Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar called Lavrov's words “shocking”; and said the minister should apologize. “I do not consider myself entitled to give advice to the head of Russian diplomacy, but it would be nice if he apologized to the Jews and simply admitted his mistake,” — he said.

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Will Israel continue to try to mediate

After the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, Israel tried to remain neutral, refusing to impose sanctions on Russia. Prime Minister Bennett paid a brief working visit to Moscow on March 5 for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leaders of the two countries also spoke on the phone on numerous occasions. As early as April 27, the Kremlin reported that Israel offered its mediation services to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. Bennett was also asked to mediate by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Ukrainian authorities stated that Israel could become one of the countries— guarantors of Ukraine's security in the event of a peace agreement between Moscow and Kyiv.

“Relations between Russia and Israel were previously as warm as the two sides could afford, and can only cool down to the level that the two sides can afford, given that neither Israel nor Russia seem to yet intend to fight each other another, in Syria, at least, no further escalation is expected yet. But at the diplomatic level, the situation does not look very decent. This is unlikely to contribute to mutual understanding, & mdash; Zeev Khanin, professor at Ariel University in Samaria, told RBC.

The escalation of diplomatic relations was a rather unexpected development of events, the previous conflict situations in bilateral relations were of an objective nature— there were specific events to which there was a reaction, but this time the scandal happened because of the statement, and not because of the action; in the last 15-20 years, this has not happened, said Dmitry Maryasis, a leading researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in an interview with RBC. In his opinion, it is rather difficult to predict the development of relations in the current conditions, however, previous experience shows that in the event of the detention of an Israeli citizen Naama Issachar in Russia in 2019, and in the event of an Il-20 disaster in Syria, in which the Russian side blamed the Israeli , ways out were found, disagreements were overcome, relations did not fundamentally suffer. Therefore, Mariasis believes that Israel's attempts to play the role of mediator will not stop.

In turn, Khanin is convinced that Israel's mediation efforts have exhausted themselves a few weeks ago: “We do not know what exactly Bennett and [Zeev] Elkin were talking about in Moscow and what exactly the Israeli representatives were saying in Kyiv, but it seems that that no proposals that would suit the Ukrainian side satisfied the Russian side. And vice versa, it is not a fact that the Russian side had any new proposals. Today, if some conversations are going on, then they can go on for a slightly different reason and no longer on one channel. Ultimately, one must assume that Israel fulfilled its mission at this stage.

The theory that Adolf Hitler may have had Jewish roots is based on the fact that his father was born out of wedlock and the identity of Hitler's grandfather was never revealed. Thus, there remained the possibility that he was a Jew, and then Hitler would also be a quarter Jew. At the same time, according to Jewish tradition, nationality is transmitted through the maternal line.

The information that Hitler's grandfather was Jewish was first presented by the Nazi Governor-General of Poland, Hans Frank, during the Nuremberg Trials, and then repeated in his memoirs “In the Face of the Gallows”, published in 1953, seven years after The Nuremberg Tribunal sentenced him to death. Frank, who in the late 1920s was a lawyer for the NSDAP and represented Hitler at trials, allegedly found out Hitler's real family tree in 1930, as the Fuhrer's half-nephew began to blackmail him, threatening to reveal his Jewish origin. According to Frank, Hitler's paternal grandfather was a Jew from the Austrian city of Graz. As evidence, Frank cited correspondence between Hitler's grandmother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, and a Jewish man named Frankenberger, for whom she worked. According to the correspondence, Schicklgruber allegedly became pregnant by his 19-year-old son, and his family was forced to pay child support.

Most historians question the accuracy of Frank's claims. Also, there is no evidence of the existence of the mentioned correspondence. Moreover, the British historian Ian Kershaw, who carefully studied the biography of Hitler, pointed out in one of his works that a Jewish family with the surname Frankenberger never lived in Austria. He found one family with that last name, but they were not Jewish. He also found no evidence that Hitler's grandmother ever lived in Graz.

Article Contributions Authors Tags Persons

Sergey Lavrov

Diplomat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia

March 20, 1950

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