Committee votes to recognize Armenian genocide

MK Zehava Galon pushes for official governement recognition after her committee passed a proposal to recognize the alleged WWI genocide.

Rachel Kaplan ,

זהבה גלאון
זהבה גלאון
צילום: פלאש 90

The Education, Culture and Sports Committee decided to recognize the Armenian genocide on Monday at a meeting initiated by Meretz Chairwoman MK Zehava Galon.

“It is our moral obligation to recognize the holocaust of the Armenian nation,” said the committee Chairman MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) in a joint statement with MK Yaakov Margi (Shas). A supposed 1.5 million Armenians were reportedly massacred by Ottoman Turks during World War I.

“Each year we instill false hope in the people sitting here,” said Galon. “It is a disservice to the Knesset to continue going on and on about this issue, year after year, without reaching a decision that the State of Israel and the Knesset recognize the genocide of the Armenian people.”

Israel's official stance is to not recognize the Armenian genocide, out of fear of angering Turkey. Israel and Turkey recently signed a reconciliation agreement, after years of cold relations.

The general Knesset has never passed a motion recognizing the Armenian genocide, yet Margi called upon Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to follow through on a statement he made last year, during which he said he would work to have the Knesset formally recognize the Armenian genocide.

“I will try to promote the issue and I hope that MKs will know the right way to vote at the moment of truth,” Edelstein said in July 2015.

“I visited one of the Armenian memorial sites and it is very hard to ignore what I saw there,” he continued.

“I expect that I, and the Knesset, act appropriately so that we can make decisions according to the moral standards of a democratic state.”