The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Israel of supporting the «neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv» and called «anti-historical» the statement of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to the effect that the Jews did not exterminate themselves during the Holocaust.
«We've noted the Israeli Foreign Minister's anti-historical statements, which largely explain the current Israeli government's course to support the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv,» the ministry said in a Twitter post.
In addition, the Foreign Ministry referred to its recent article, which explains in detail the «anti-historical» character of Lapid's statements. The article cites a few examples of Jews collaborating with the Nazis during World War II. The statement echoes the words of Sergei Lavrov that «the president's Jewish origins are no guarantee of protection against rampant neo-Nazism in the country.» Latvia is cited as another example of such «rampant» neo-Nazism, where the president «covers up the rehabilitation of the Waffen SS in the country» (a link to the propaganda publication Sputnik is provided).
The Foreign Ministry adds that the Israeli government ignores «the epidemic of destruction and desecration of monuments to the world's genuinely righteous people - the Red Army soldiers who stopped the Holocaust and saved the Jewish world,» and «what we really have in Ukraine is the most widespread anti-Semitism and homophobia, which were quite unthinkable not so long ago.» The article ends with an accusation of support of neo-Nazism in Ukraine: «Such «state building» is especially immoral for the country which lost 1.5 million Jews during the Holocaust and which has a memorial to the victims of Babi Yar in its capital.»
In an interview with Mediaset in Italy on May 2, Foreign Minister Lavrov said that «Jews are the most virulent anti-Semites and Hitler had Jewish blood» when asked how anti-Semitism is possible in a country led by a Jew. The statement got a response first from Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and then from Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenski.
Lapid responded by calling Lavrov's words inexcusable and outrageous, as well as «a terrible historical mistake.» «The Jews did not kill themselves during the Holocaust. Accusing Jews themselves of anti-Semitism is the lowest level of racism against Jews. <...> The Nazis persecuted the Jews, only the Nazis were Nazis, only the Nazis carried out the systematic extermination of the Jewish people,» he said.
Lapid also said that the Russian side should apologize for Lavrov's remarks. «We make every effort to maintain good relations with Russia, but there is a line, and this time it has been crossed. The Russian government must apologize to us and to the Jewish people.»
«How could such a thing be said on the eve of the anniversary of the victory over Nazism? These words mean that the highest diplomat in Russia shifts the blame for the Nazi crimes onto the Jewish people. I don't know what to say,» Zelenski said.
On March 1, the Babi Yar memorial site in Kyiv, mentioned in the Foreign Ministry's statement, came under missile attack.