Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the Knesset could potentially revisit the topic when relations with Turkey settle down.







Armenian Genocide Museum, Armenia

Armenian Genocide Museum, Armenia Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

At the behest of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Knesset will table the bill that would have Israel recognize the Armenian Genocide until further notice.

As reported earlier by JOL, the Knesset was expected to vote on the issue this Tuesday before it was quietly pulled from the agenda. The subtle move angered MKs who claimed that the Knesset was “putting politics ahead of morality.”

The Foreign Ministry offered a number of reasons for its decision to table what it called the “populist” vote “disconnected from the complex reality.”

Israel wishes to maintain whatever diplomatic relationship it still has with Turkey, the ministry explained, however unstable it is at the moment. Turkey is an important ally on the Syrian front, especially now that Israel is coming close to reaching a mutual agreement with Russia regarding Iranian’s presence along the border.

Indeed, when it was announced last week that a motion to vote on the bill had passed unanimously in Israel’s parliament, Turkey distributed statements that any move on Israel’s part to recognize the genocide would result in further damage to the two countries’ relationship. “We believe that if Israel compares the events of 1915 with the Holocaust, it will harm itself,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy told reporters.

Indeed, when it was announced last week that a motion to vote on the bill had passed unanimously in Israel’s parliament, Turkey distributed statements that any move on Israel’s part to recognize the genocide would result in further damage to the two countries’ relationship. “We believe that if Israel compares the events of 1915 with the Holocaust, it will harm itself,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy told reporters.

Another factor to consider, the Foreign Ministry said, is Israel’s relationship with Azerbaijan, a country who has been in conflict with Armenia for decades. Azerbaijan can potentially be a key player and ally in Israel’s fight with Iran.

Finally, the ministry believes that the linguistic debate of “tragedy” versus “genocide” should be left for historians to settle, and not politicians.

Israel, which contains strong Armenian communities such as the historic Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, has been publicly debating recognizing the genocide on and off since Armenia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.