Jewish people cannot ignore “the suffering of Armenians,” Israeli President says

Armenia’s non-resident Ambassador Armen Smbatyan today handed his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Careful not to use the word ‘genocide,’ Rivlin told him that both as a City Council member of Jerusalem and as a Member of Knesset, he had frequently voiced the opinion that the Jewish people who suffered so much could not ignore the suffering of another people.

He said that when Armenians had come to the old city of Jerusalem following the “terrible tragedy that had befallen them during the First World War,” they were warmly welcomed by the Jewish residents.

Rivlin said he believed that the “Armenian catastrophe” should be regarded in historical not in political terms.

Smbatyan, who is stationed in Cairo, had been to Yad Vashem the previous day. In commenting on the Holocaust, remarked on how challenging it is for Israel to ensure that such a devastating calamity never again imposes itself on either the Jewish or the Armenian people. He saw a distinct unifying characteristic between Armenians and Jews in the dynamic of the human spirit and the will to survive.

“We talk about the genocide that was inflicted on Armenia, but it’s not a political issue,” he said. “It’s an issue of humanity.”

Acknowledging the importance of remembering the past, Rivlin said that it was even more important to live for the future.

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