Israel’s Foreign Ministry protested an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli pronouncement by the president of Belarus.
In an Oct. 12 news conference broadcast live on Belarus national radio, Alexander Lukashenko slurred Jews and Israel, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Lukashenko was talking about “miserable” circumstances in the rural town of Bobruisk when he said reportedly, “Well, obviously, it is a Jewish town. The Jews do not care for the place they live in. Look at Israel – I have been there.”
He added that the town was reorganized after the Jews left and called for Jews “with money” to return to Bobruisk.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni condemned the president’s remarks.
“The role of leadership is to fight anti-Semitism wherever it raises its ugly head, all over the world, not to encourage it,” she said. “Anti-Semitism is primarily an indicator of the society in which it appears and of its leaders.”
The ministry summoned Igor Lacnia, the Belarusian ambassador to Israel, to advise him of Livni’s condemnation.