As concerns past incidents of genocide, Israel also did not take active steps, despite its historical and moral obligation as the state of the Jewish people, who experienced the most terrible of horrors of the modern era, journalist Mazal Mualem noted.
"In actuality, diplomatic considerations and political interests prevent intervention in real time in cases of crimes against humanity. They are also in play in connection to a genocide that took place about a hundred years ago. Israel, for fear of harming relations with Turkey, avoids recognizing the Armenian genocide, which took place during World War I (1915-18). That mass killing along with the Herero and Nama genocide in South West Africa are considered the first of their kind in the twentieth century. Regarding the more well-known Armenian genocide, no one disputes its horrors and scope. According to estimates, between a million and a million and a half Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman regime," the author of the article noted.
Israel’s refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide is not a source of national or Jewish pride. In 2015, the centennial of the Armenian genocide was commemorated, and debate once again arose in Israel over the question of recognition. In an essay in Haaretz, former Minister Yossi Sarid related how as prime ministers both Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak avoided recognizing the Armenian Holocaust. Sarid, who tried to change this official position, quoted Peres as saying to him, “We should leave the Armenian genocide to the historians.” Even with Israeli-Turkish relations having deteriorated under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israel has not strayed from this policy, Al Monitor reported.
In 2015, Knesset Chair Yuli Edelstein surprised everyone when he declared at a Knesset session marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide that the time had come for the State of Israel to recognize the episode. Edelstein said of the mass killing, “This is one of the most despicable and most dramatic incidents that happened in the beginning of the last century.” He also noted, “It is no secret that the State of Israel has until now taken an ambivalent stand on the Armenian genocide. A thicket of constraints, diplomatic and other, created a state of affairs in which the Israeli position was too hesitant, too restrained, and as a result, it appears to have diminished the importance of this powerful event.”
Despite these words, Israel has not changed its outlook. A year later, the Knesset Education Committee renewed debate on the issue and recognized the genocide, but the action has no official, diplomatic weight.