The bill is likely to gain support from the coalition in light of the current rift between Israel and Turkey.


The “eternal flame” monument in Armenia Photo credit: Serouj Ourishian, Wikimedia Commons

The Knesset will discuss on Wednesday a bill to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide by Turkey’s Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.

Though the instigator of the bill, MK Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party, described it as a moral issue rather than a political one, it is likely to gain support among coalition members in light of the growing rift between Israel and Turkey over last week’s events in Gaza.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan called Israel “an apartheid state” and advised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “read the Ten Commandments” in order to learn about humanity.

The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians between 1914 and 1923. Turkey objects to this term and does not recognize the Ottoman Empire’s responsibility for the killings.

While the Israeli educational system does recognize the Armenian Genocide, the Israeli government does not and refers to it as “the Armenian tragedy.” If the government embraces the new bill, it will mean the immediate severing of ties between the countries.