Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has come out in favor of formal recognition of the Armenian genocide, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
“I visited one of the Armenian memorial sites and it is very hard to ignore what I saw there,” Edelstein told the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee meeting Wednesday. “I expect that I and the Knesset behave appropriately so that we can make decisions according to the moral standards of a democratic state.”
Israeli officials have been wary of recognizing the mass killings that took place in 1915 during World War I, largely for fear of angering the Turkish government, which has been extremely sensitive on the issue.
However, Edelstein pointed out that many governments do not recognize it as genocide, while their parliaments do.
Only 22 countries recognize the massacres as a genocide, including Canada, France and Germany, but not the U.S.
The Knesset sent a delegation to the Armenian government’s 100th anniversary memorial ceremony in April, but that did not constitute recognition by the state of Israel.
Education, Culture and Sport Committee chairman Yaakov Margi (Shas) said, “We are aware of the diplomatic sensitivities, but we overcame them and the time has come for the government to do so, too.”