Knesset votes to debate recognizing Armenian Genocide

The Knesset voted on Wednesday evening to hold a debate on recognizing the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish government a century ago, Haaretz reports.

Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg submitted the motion earlier on Wednesday. The debate will be held at an unspecified date in the future.

“This is our moral and historic obligation,” Zandberg said. “Some things are above politics.”

The motion, approved 16-0, was to hold the first-ever debate of the recognition in the Knesset’s plenary. Zandberg’s office is aiming for Tuesday as the date of the unprecedented vote, according to Jerusalem Post.

Only 16 Knesset members participated in the session and a mere two MKs from the coalition, alongside Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, attended the session.

In an exceptional move, the government informed the Knesset earlier on Wednesday that it would not submit a response to the motion to hold the debate on recognizing the Armenian genocide. In the past, the government objected to holding such a debate in the Knesset plenum.

Meretz had submitted similar resolutions in recent years that were subsequently debated in the Knesset Education Committee. This time she submitted the motion to the entire Knesset, insisting that the full Knesset debate it, rather than one of the committees.

Last week, several coalition MKs announced their intention to submit draft legislation on recognizing the Armenian genocide in response to anti-Israel comments and actions by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Education Minister Naftali Bennett asked Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to “approve official recognition by the State of Israel of the Armenian Holocaust committed by Turkey.”

Zandberg said Tuesday, “For many years now Israel has been evading recognition of the Armenian genocide, one of the most despicable acts of murder in the 20th century. This lack of recognition is a moral stain on Israel and on every country that chooses, out of its own interests, to ignore the suffering of the other. For us it is a matter of morality and not a momentary political act.”

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