Doubling down, Moscow now charges that Israel is supporting the “neo-Nazi” government in Kyiv under Zelensky.
By World Israel News Staff
The diplomatic spat between Russia and Israel deepened on Tuesday as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed that the Jewish State “supports the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”
The rift began on Monday, when Lavrov said during an interview with Italian TV that Adolf Hitler, like Zelensky, was of Jewish heritage.
Lavrov made the remarks after a journalist questioned Russia’s explanation that its invasion was aimed at de-Nazifying Ukraine.
The journalist noted Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodomyr Zelensky is Jewish, insinuating that he could not hold that position if Ukraine was truly infested with Nazis.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid slammed Lavrov for his comments, calling them “unforgivable and scandalous, and a horrible historical error.”
“The Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust,” Lapid said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame Jews themselves for antisemitism.”
Later on Monday, Moscow’s ambassador to Israel was summoned for a “tough conversation,” according to Lapid.
But on Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry fired back, calling Lapid’s statements “anti-historic statements” and saying that they “largely explain the course of the current Israeli government in supporting the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”
Lavrov compared Zelensky to the heads of Judenrat councils, “some of whom are remembered for absolutely monstrous deeds.”
Russia said that Zelensky is “hiding behind his origins” while associating with Neo-Nazis, who are the “spiritual and blood heirs of the executioners of his people.”
The public row between Moscow and Jerusalem marks a significant departure from previous relations since the invasion. Israel had taken took a neutral role in the conflict, refusing to provide military aid to Ukraine and repeatedly stating that it wished to maintain warm relations with both countries.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett floated the idea of hosting Ukraine-Russia peace talks in Jerusalem and offered to act as a mediator.
While the claim that Russia invaded Ukraine in order to “de-Nazify” the country has been largely rejected by Western lawmakers and analysts, Ukraine does have a long history of intense antisemitism and Nazi-inspired movements.
Ukraine’s paramilitary Azov Battalion, which tasked itself with defending the port city of Mariupol, is comprised of people who identify as Neo-Nazis, use Nazi symbols, and profess to embrace Nazi ideology.